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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

USC Opens Swipes for the Homeless Chapter

Students can donate excess Dining Dollars to the program this week.

USC students with extra Dining Dollars on their meal plans have the opportunity to donate them to the homeless this week through the new USC branch of the program Swipes for the Homeless.

Swipes for the Homeless was founded at UCLA in 2009 as an effort to donate extra money for food left on meal plans at the end of a quarter to the homeless instead of wasting it. It has since expanded to several schools in California and as far east as Texas.

Jamal Saleh, Delila Pouldar and Tiffany Pouldar founded USC's chapter this year, and the program goes into action this week.

Swipes for the Homeless has set up tables outside Trojan Grounds, the University Bookstore and Cafe 84 for the week of April 23-27. Proceeds are donated to the Los Angeles Mission. Students can donate a set amount of Dining Dollars or the remaining balance on their account.

"We figured this is an organization that USC needs," said Jamal Saleh, USC Swipes co-founder and co-president. He and the Pouldars worked through the summer and fall of 2011 to plan the chapter and worked with the administration for approval.

Saleh says the group chose to donate food to the LA Mission because of its history in providing food, shelter and other necessities to the homeless.

"It's also an organization that USC has had a long-standing affiliation with," he added.

Swipes for the Homeless at USC plans to expand in coming years to include other meal plan components besides Dining Dollars.

Saleh is hopeful that the program can "add more to the educational component" in years to come, meeting throughout the school year and bringing in speakers to promote awareness about homelessness in the community surrounding USC.

However, since it is the program's first semester in action, many students are not aware of it or do not have money left to donate.

"I heard about it through my sorority," said freshman Hannah Nachef. "Unfortunately I've already spent all of my Dining Dollars, but I think USC has a lot of resources that it could and should be donating. I'll definitely try to support it in the future."

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