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Students take a swipe at hunger

From left, Sabrina Aziz, Brenda Arianpour and Monica Bral are among members of USC Swipes for the Homeless who rallied students to donate dining dollars. (Photo/Dietmar Quistdorf)

It’s a simple idea, really, but simple ideas often make the biggest difference.

Each semester, USC students head into final exams with credits still left on their dining cards — money that goes to waste when the semester ends. So a group of students decided to turn those dollars into food for the Los Angeles Mission.

It’s called USC Swipes for the Homeless. Working in partnership with USC Hospitality, the group transformed $21,000 in donated, unused dining-card money into 2,300 pounds of nutritious ingredients.

The LA Mission picked up stacks of boxes of lamb, pork, soup and other items from the Ronald Tutor Campus Center on Feb. 22.

“We’re happy to work with the students to make this possible. They deserve the credit,” said USC Hospitality’s Louis Rodriguez, as group co-presidents Sabrina Aziz and Monica Bral examined the boxes of food.

The effort grew out of similar initiatives at other universities. Swipes for the Homeless started at the University of California, Los Angeles, where creators earned a national award from President Barack Obama for the project. It’s the second semester of donations for the USC group.

To learn more and see images from the food handover, visit the Flickr slideshow. To hear about future events, go to the group’s Facebook page.

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