A student from Washington University is going viral on TikTok after spending her leftover meal points on care packages for people without housing in St. Louis.
Maya Nepos’ first video of her ‘paying it forward’ gained over 6 million views and over 1.8 million likes. Her TikTok account now has over 314,000 followers. Nepos challenged herself in her first video to “spend $600 in food in two days,” because she had just 48 hours to use the rest of the points on her meal plan. She didn’t use many of those points during the year because most of her classes were held online, and she was rarely campus.
She started by taking her friend out to a steak dinner, but noticed it barely made a dent in the 600 points she had. She then bought hundreds of dollars worth of food from the campus market.
Nepos told Fox 2 Now, “I realized there are a ton of people who would love to have all this food, why don’t I give it to someone who needs it?”
Nepos started to make care packages for those around her area. She drove around for 5 hours, dropping the packages to those in need. After dropping off care packages for two days, and spending all of her meal points, she decided that she wanted to do more.
In fact, she discovered that her university allows students to donate meal points to charities in the area. She considered it, but found that she enjoyed the human connections she made while delivering the food herself.
People who follow her on TikTok began sending her money to create more packages, and so she included items “that are easy for people to consume without a microwave or without openers.”
She said she got to know some of the people she was helping, which made it feel “more personal and gives people a lot more hope.”
Nepos has now graduated with a degree in psychology and a minor in marketing. She is still looking for a job, but plans to stay in St. Louis for now. In part, that’s because she loves helping the people there. “This has become my home over the last 4 years and I’d love to keep helping here or wherever I end up.”