College Student Uses Leftover Meal Dollars to Feed the Homeless

As the school year neared its end, Maya Nepos, senior psychology major at the Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, learned that she had approximately $600 worth of unused meal plan dollars. Because most of her classes had transitioned to online due to the pandemic, Nepos didn’t have to travel as much to campus creating the surplus in her meal account.

Initially, Nepos created a TikTok challenge to see how quickly she could spend her $600 in two days. Nepos started buying snacks from the campus bookstore, but soon realized she would not be able to eat all the food she bought.

Using some quick wit, Nepos decided to start creating care packages to deliver to homeless families in the area. Care packages include food, face masks, and hand sanitizer to protect against COVID-19.

Over the course of 2 days, Nepos delivered roughly 40 packages to people in need. During her deliveries, Nepos recorded her experiences sharing them with her more than 330,000 social media followers generating over 7 million views on her TikTok account.

She tried to make sure the packages included nonperishable food that could be easily consumed.

Nepos said, “I tried to be more cognizant of their situations and be realistic of the resources they (homeless individuals) had with them.”

Some of Nepos’s followers began sending her money via Venmo and PayPal to help her deliver more packages. In total, she was able to raise $746. With the additional funds, Nepos delivered approximately 80 packages in the St. Louis community.

Remarking on her experience, Nepos commented, “You can make a big difference in just one person’s life with not a lot.”

During her deliveries, Nepos became friends with a homeless man named Darryl.

Nepos met Darryl at an intersection on her first day of deliveries. Darryl, 52, is unemployed, diabetic and has two children.

“He is just the sweetest man. We had the most immediate friendship connection. We’re pretty good friends now,” Nepos said.

The pair grew so close that when Nepos ran out of care packages on day two, she and Darryl went to Shake Shack to get some burgers and fries. During their interactions, Nepos encouraged Darryl to register to get a COVID-19 vaccine, which he seemed excited about receiving.

Now a graduate seeking employment, Nepos hopes that she will be able to find work in a helping profession that allows her to address the inequities in society.

Source: California News Times