History & Mission
September 2009: Bryan Pezeshki, a sophomore at UCLA, asked students to go directly into university dining halls, “swipe” meals to-go. He and a few friends would then deliver these meals to those facing homelessness on the streets of Los Angeles.
December 2009: Bryan teamed up with Thach “Tak” Nguyen, a student government council member, to expand upon the scope and impact of Swipes for the Homeless. They institutionalized the program and established an partnership with UCLA Dining Services and allowed students to donate the funds from their meal plans. Now, meal swipes are transferred into non-perishable goods and delivered to the local homeless population. In its first year, Swipes for the Homeless at UCLA collected over 10,000 pounds of food and in its past three years has reached over 75,000 pounds, while becoming one of the most recognized groups on the public university campus.
February 2012: The Swipes initiative spreads across the country and to accommodate the demand for expansion, registers as a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization. Its second chapter is established at USC.
March 2012: President Obama recognized Swipes for the Homeless as one of five “Champions of Change,” after a nationwide search and vetting of thousands of applicants. The group was personally invited to the White House and recognized for the impact created on the community. “Swipes” has since become a state-certified 501(c)3 non- profit organization with the aim of spreading its impact on to every campus in the world.
September 2013: Four years after our founding and solely volunteer leadership, Swipes hires non-profit co-founder Rachel Sumekh as its first full-time staff member to support our chapters and the 60 universities where Swipes for the Homeless has begun to sprout.
Swipes for the Homeless is an international, 501(c)3 non-profit organization consisting of a coalition of university and college chapters located throughout the world. Our dual mission is to tangibly and tactically partner with college campuses to alleviate hunger while raising young people’s awareness of homelessness and hunger through education and outreach.
Rachel Sumekh currently serves as Executive Director, leading the organization’s overall strategy and operations management. She brings four years of non-profit experience ranging from serving as a case manager on the North Side of Chicago to a campus organizer to her current role at Executive Director. After serving as President of “Swipes” at our original UCLA chapter she helped establish the National board and led chapter development. She currently serves as a Global Justice Fellow with AJWS, an international human rights organization. Emails from prospective students asking about creating a new chapter or getting involved are Rachel’s most preferred types of messages.
Deena Dulgerian currently serves as the Director of Operations and Compliance. Just recently graduating in June 2012 and having taken the LSAT shortly thereafter, Deena will be entering Law School in the Fall but will be doing ground-level work with non-profits and humanitarian organizations to better prepare herself for a career in legal advocacy. She was active in two organizations while at UCLA that focused on changing the lives of children from low-income communities through mentoring and a summer camp experience. She prides herself on her Armenian heritage and can spend hours on end talking about her travels, the Beatles, or random facts about Greek mythology unknown to most of man-kind.Jose M Iniguez, Director of Media, is charged with “Swipes” online and media strategy — from website and social media to branding and design. He graduated from UCLA in 2008 and worked with UCLA Residence Life for two years, where he first started working with “Swipes” advising student organizers. Currently, he uses MTV’s superpowers for good as Associate Editor of the MTV Act Blog. He is passionate about empowering youth in disadvantaged communities to achieve their full potential, and is equally passionate about empowering others to help achieve that. He is a lover of all things Latin, spicy, flawless, and fierce — like JLo, for example.
Charissa Ebert serves as the Director of Finance. Growing up with a love for the outdoors, it was only natural that she attended the University of California, Santa Cruz where she could hike, camp, and kayak between classes. After graduating with a BA in Business Management Economics, Charissa worked as an auditor for Deloitte and spent a summer living and working in Yellowstone National Park. These experiences fueled her passion for environmental and social justice issues, especially those addressing the intersection of natural resource use and poverty. She currently works for a CPA firm specializing in taxes and investment planning. Charissa is very excited to use her financial expertise to establish a strong fiscal base upon which Swipes can continue their campus expansion and community outreach.”
Emma Berdugo serves as the Director of Education and Advocacy, preparing effective educational materials and strategies to better advocate for issues surrounding homelessness. She graduated from UC San Diego where she was involved in various campus groups including JusticeCorps, a program that provided free legal services to low-income San Diegans. She currently lives in New York and is working at a job placement program for homeless individuals. Emma hopes to eventually work on systematic policy changes to create a more equal society. When she isn’t thinking about how she can take this on, she enjoys jamming out to Drake and exploring what NYC has to offer!
of food donated as of
Press & Accomplishments
Finances and Funding:
Marketing and Digital Media:
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