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Twitter account attempts to aid food insecurity on campus

by Aliza Majid

From free food on the quad to free snacks at events across campus these little incentives really change someone’s day.

Being able to find these free food opportunities on campus isn’t the easiest thing to find since there are a wide variety of events on campus.

Juan David Hoyos Campolargo, a student at the university, decided to make this an easier endeavor for people on campus by creating the twitter account @UIUCFreeFood.

“I got this idea that there’s always free food events on campus but it’s always hard to find them. You always have to spontaneously come across it but if you could find this event in a more intentional way everyone could help each other out,” Campolargo said.

The account has become a community of sorts as it is primarily student run since people can submit events they see on campus that provide free food on a form linked on the twitter page.

According to Campolargo, food insecurity is a large issue on college campuses and this account provides an opportunity to feed those who may be struggling to make ends meet.

“ A lot of people are actually hungry and going to these free food events makes a difference since there is a big food insecurity problem on college campuses which forces people to decide whether to pay rent or feed themselves for the day,” Campolargo said.

Sharing these free food opportunities around campus isn’t the only way that the account has provided aid to students.

Campolargo has also reached out to a few local restaurants who opted into providing some free or discounted food items at their establishments as a part of this effort.

Shawarma Joint and La Paloma are the two major local businesses that have offered free appetizers and discounts associated with the Twitter account to help the community.

“We just want to give back a little bit from what we have and we decided to participate in something for free for the students since they have always supported us everywhere we go,” Irene Macedo, the co-owner of La Paloma said.

La Paloma provides various discount items on their menu along with their free sides sometimes as a part of this free food program, which just requires students to show the business a tweet from the account to receive these benefits.

“This thing works because everyone decides to work and I created it but it’s more beautiful than just me and the outcome just brings a lot of gratefulness to the community,” Campolargo said.

The @UIUCFreeFood account currently has over 2000 followers and continues to grow as people submit events and local businesses who have decided to contribute to this endeavor.

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