ST. LOUIS – A Washington University senior is going viral on TikTok after spending her leftover meal points on unhoused people in St. Louis. Her TikTok has more than 300,000 followers, but her first video on how she spent her meal points has racked up more than 6 million views.
“Let’s see if I can spend $600 in food in two days,” Washington University senior Maya Nepos said in her first video. Nepos said she didn’t use many of her meal points this year because most of her classes were online and she hardly went to campus.
She said it started as a challenge and she took her friend out to a steak dinner on campus, but that hardly put a dent in the 600 points. Nepos documented her challenge on TikTok and after her steak dinner, bought hundreds of dollars worth of food from a campus market.
“I was like Maya you’re not going to eat all this food, why did you buy it, and you still have 400-something meal points, and then I realized there are tons of people who would love to have all of this food, why don’t I give it to someone who needs it,” Nepos told FOX 2’s Zara Barker Wednesday.
The next day, she decided to make care packages for unhoused people in the St. Louis area with her food. She spent all of her meal points to make care packages and drove around for 5 hours dropping them off to those in need. A TikTok viewer reached out to her and asked if she could drop off food for their family in East St. Louis, so she did.
Nepos dropped off care packages for two days, but didn’t stop there. She started to get to know some of the people she was helping and treated one person experiencing homelessness she had met during her deliveries to a burger and fries from Shake Shack.
“Meeting people and having a face and a name and being like, ‘Hi I’m Maya, would you like some food?’ it’s a lot more personal and it gives people a lot more hope,” she said.
After two days of deliveries while she’s wrapping up finals, school, preparing to graduate and enter the workforce, she didn’t stop there.
Her followers on TikTok had electronically sent her money to create even more packages after she used her meal points. On Wednesday, FOX 2 followed Nepos around while she made a few deliveries. “I included things that are east for people to consume without a microwave or without an openers,” she said.
Nepos said she later found out her university lets students donate meal points to charities who help around the area, but she said she enjoyed the human connections she made delivering the food herself.
Nepos graduated with a degree in psychology and a minor in marketing on Friday. She’s still looking for a job after college, but plans to stay in St. Louis for now.
“I love helping people in St. Louis, this has become my home over the last 4 years and I’d love to keep helping here or wherever I end up,” she said.