Rachel Sumekh

Turning dining hall dollars into food for the hungry, Rachel Sumekh has empowered college students to address food insecurity in their communities and has shined a light on hunger on university campuses. Born to parents who had emigrated from Iran, Rachel Sumekh grew up in the Iranian Jewish community of Los Angeles. As a student at the University of California-Los Angeles, Sumekh wanted to use the extra money on her meal plan at the end of the semester to help the hungry in her community. The first drive she organized, in the fall of 2009, provided about 350 meals to people near her campus. Since then, the organization she founded, Swipe Out Hunger, has provided more than 1.2 million meals across the United States, supported by students at over twenty universities. Sumekh has turned her focus to hunger on campuses, working to address the food insecurity experienced by one in ten university students. For this work, she was recognized as a “Champion of Change” by the White House in 2012 and was included on Forbes Magazine’s list of “30 Under 30 for Social Entrepreneurship” in 2017. Sumekh lives in Los Angeles, where she is a leader in the Iranian Jewish community and continues to expand the impact of her organization nationwide.


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Rachel Sumekh in a UCLA dining hall. Photograph courtesy of UCLA Magazine.

Date of Birth

Los Angeles, CA
United States

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rachel Sumekh." (Viewed on June 22, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/sumekh-rachel>.


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