Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Students headstart Swipe Away Hunger

The East Tuscaloosa Community Soup Bowl will deliver a total of 423 meals to needy families from all over Tuscaloosa as part of The University of Alabama’s Swipe Away Hunger initiative.

This brand new program, sponsored by Bama Dining and a number of local churches, will offer meals to residents from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Wednesday. The meals were donated by UA students who were able to donate excess guest meal swipes to be prepared by Bama Dining before they are picked up and delivered to the East Tuscaloosa Community Soup Bowl, where they will be distributed to residents. The program’s founders, two UA students, will both be on hand to help Wednesday.

Tatiana Carrasquilla, a junior majoring in biology, said there has always been something that bothered her about meal plans ever since she arrived on campus.

“I figured at the end of the day they just threw the leftovers away, and there are so many hungry people around us,” Carrasquilla said. “It took me two years later, but an idea finally came to me. I was sitting in my room one day studying for midterms when [all of] the sudden [the] thought came to me: ‘What if the students could donate their excess, in the form of donating the guest meals they usually don’t exhaust, and we could gather all these meals to try and feed hungry people?’”

Carrasquilla immediately contacted her brother Juan Carrasquilla, a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering, with whom she had discussed the topic before. He agreed to help her, and with that, Swipe Away Hunger began.

Tatiana and Juan were born in Colombia, and their family moved to the United States around 2000.

“In our culture, we were taught to eat all your food, not to waste any of it,” Juan said. “There was such a great surplus of food here that could go to good use, and we always wondered how we could benefit from this.”

Reaching out to Bama Dining, they found aid in the form of Bruce McVeigh, general manager of dining halls, whose staff helped the Carrasquillas advertise, design a logo and plan logistics of the delivery. Once the University was on board, Tatiana contacted Pam Standifer at the ETCSB to find a means of distributing the food.

“The financial part of it is very positive for our organization,” ETCSB director Charlie Simmons said. “It helps relieve our organization from providing everything for a day, providing the food and all. We’re very thankful for Tatiana, the University and everyone who donated to work together for the common good. ”

The meals being delivered will include turkey, gravy, stuffing and other Thanksgiving staples. Students were allowed to sign up at Burke Hall or Lakeside Dining Hall to donate one guest swipe to the program.

“Potentially, if we get a lot more meals, we might move to other, similar locations later on, not just the East Tuscaloosa Community Soup Bowl,” Juan said.

Simmons said Wednesday’s event will be open to anyone who wants to attend.

“It is incredible to think that by simply signing a sheet saying they are donating one guest meal, hundreds of students have impacted their community and touched the lives of so many people,” Tatiana said, “The University of Alabama has truly reached out to the people of Tuscaloosa, and we plan to continue doing this program for every year to come.”

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