Jonathan Chin and Share Meals: COVID-19 Food Hero

by NYC Food Policy Editor

Why He’s a Food Hero: In 2020, Jonathan Chin and Share Meals joined forces with the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center to help produce its Coronavirus NYC Neighborhood Food Resource Guides. The project developed neighborhood guides for the 59 neighborhoods included in the NYC Department of City Planning’s Community District Profiles, which include information on local food pantries and emergency food programs; neighborhood outlets and farmers’ markets; food delivery programs for home-bound seniors, shelters and transitional housing and services for homeless people, resources and services for individuals with disabilities and immigrants, citywide organizations offering food delivery and mobile markets; free meals for students and seniors; and more. The guides have been readily shared over the last year and have been included in COVID-19 guides from numerous institutions and community organizations. They continue to be a vital resource connecting NYC residents to food and services within their local areas, and are continually updated to ensure New Yorkers have access to accurate and current information during the ongoing pandemic. 

Background: Chin holds a BA in Computer Science from Boston University, a MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College, and is currently pursuing his MA in English Education at New York University. An educator, poet, software engineer, and social entrepreneur, Chin has held a variety of positions at educational institutions and software companies. He has taught at the College of New Rochelle, Brooklyn College, College Now, Manhattan EOC, and Rikers Island as an adjunct professor, and currently serves as an adjunct lecturer at Cooper Union and Brooklyn EOC. In 2013, while studying at New York University, Chin launched Share Meals after hearing the story of an anonymous NYU student who was struggling to feed herself while in school. Chin created a meal sharing digital prototype, called NYU Meal Swipes, and immediately began connecting students in need with meals. The original prototype evolved over the following months into Share Meals, an organization dedicated to ending college hunger. 

Work: Since its inception in 2013, Share Meals has been working to empower college students through technology, activism, and advocacy, while fighting college student food insecurity. Share Meals currently has four initiatives, Open Kitchen, Trailblazers, Packathon, and the Feed the Rock Survey, through which they connect college students to educational and social entrepreneurship courses and workshops, host community food projects, and provide fellowship opportunities to students. In addition to its programming, Share Meals helps students through its online app, which allows students to donate unneeded meal swipes to peers and post about free food available on their schools’ campuses. Through the app, Share Meals now helps 15,000 students at universities across the nation. In 2020, Share Meals joined with the NYC Food Policy Center to produce its COVID Neighborhood Food Resource Guides. 

Awards, Praise and Honors: Jonathan Chin was named one of the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Centers 40 Under 40 in 2018, received the Clinton Hunger Leadership Award in 2017, and has been awarded numerous titles at hackathons and social entrepreneurship competitions. In 2017, Share Meals was named the Grand Winner of the 2017 $300K Entrepreneur’s Challenge for Social Ventures. Chin is currently a semi-finalist for the Algorithm For Change: The $1.5M AI/ML & xR Access to Education Competition hosting by the NYU Social Entrepreneurship Program. 

Location: New York, NY

Website: Share Meals Website, Jonathan Chin’s Website, Facebook, Twitter

Resources and References: 

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