Peer Navigator Network
- Field of Interest:
- Social Services
Founded in 2010 by a group of university students, Swipe Out Hunger is a leading nonprofit addressing hunger among college students. It provides practical and innovative solutions to campus hunger, including its flagship program, where students with extra dining hall meal swipes can donate them to their peers.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, studies found that an estimated 45% of college students across the country had experienced food insecurity in the last 30 days, and that over 700 college campuses had opened food pantries. When colleges and universities shut down their campuses, food-insecure students faced new challenges: they can no longer rely on programs where other students donate extra meal swipes to them, and campus food pantries are closed or operating at limited capacity. To address this issue, Swipe Out Hunger created the Peer Navigator Network. The Network is a national initiative that connects student case managers with students who are hungry. The case managers speak to students and assist them in signing up for benefits, particularly SNAP, so that students have a dependable source of meals. The case managers help to navigate the complicated process of accessing benefits, while destigmatizing the issue. They also speak to students to understand their needs (e.g., mental health or housing concerns) and refer them to specialists who can assist them.