Low Cost, Low Waste, and Local Holiday Gift Ideas

Low Cost, Low Waste, and Local Holiday Gift Ideas

Want to get a gift for a loved one that aligns with your values? 

Check out the following gift ideas from eco-conscious brands, as well as some ideas for DIY gifts.

? = under $30

? = opportunity to shop local

✋ = make it yourself 

Low Cost

? Thinx Underwear– underwear for people with periods. Thinx are washable, reusable underwear designed to reduce the vast amount of tampon and pad waste in our country.

? Package Free Shopan ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy. Shop the best low-waste products, all plastic and cruelty free. Favorites: Meow Meow Tweet spot treatment, Raw Elements tinted facial sunscreen, Tea Tree Charcoal facial bar soap

? Bite Toothpaste Bits– More than 1 billion plastic toothpaste tubes are thrown out each year. Bite Toothpaste bits are made with clean, vegan-friendly ingredients, designed to keep your teeth healthy and oceans clean. All subscriptions include a refillable glass jar. And no toothpaste streaks in the sink!



?Local produce boxes- support local farmers and give the gift of fresh, organic produce. Pre-buy one or two weeks of a local CSA produce box, such as Plow to Porch in Santa Barbara or Farm Fresh in DC, which delivers a medley of delicious in-season fruits and vegetables

?Books- from a local bookstore or thrift store

Some book ideas for family members-

?Guided journals, like a Question a Day or Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice by Michelle Obama

?Coffee table books, like People of New York and Sun and Her Flowers

?? Clothes, art, and toys from a thrift store


A nice dinner

National or State Park Pass

Museum Membership

Gift cards to nail or hair salons 


✋Healthy, vegan, edible cookie dough in a cute mason jar (Check out this recipe)







When it comes to gift wrapping, please consider reusing boxes and any paper you already have.


Happy Holidays!

Last Call & COVID-19

It seems almost everyone is adjusting to a new way of life in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. College students specifically have been asked to leave campus and resume their education remotely. This along with a projected unemployment rate of 32% presents a multitude of challenges for millions of people and we are here to help.

As a community-driven organization, we want to make sure that nobody feels alone during this difficult time. We want you to succeed and stay healthy. Below you will find resources for cash assistance, tips on how to apply for government-funded programs like food stamps and unemployment, and more. We will update this list as more resources become available.

We remain committed to serving communities during this time and are adapting our food marketplace in order to make positive impacts on food businesses and neighborhoods at large. If you are interested in learning more and collaborating to bring Last Call to your community, please reach out to us.

The resources that follow were adapted from The Hope Center’s Guide for College Students Affected by COVID-19 and the efforts of the Student Relief Fund. Both are great organizations committed to helping students succeed.

Cash Assistance
With any funding you apply for related to COVID-19, make sure to explicitly state that COVID-19 has negatively affected you.

Find out if your college has an emergency aid fund by googling your university + “emergency aid/fund”.

Most cities/communities have a mutual aid program (this is a fancy way of saying we should all help each other get through this pandemic, giving what we can to neighbors and strangers alike) Here is DC’s, and GW. Find yours by googling your community + mutual aid + coronavirus.

Scholly COVID-19 Student Relief Fund: Apply today to receive $200 in cash assistance to help cover expenses. The application takes less than two minutes.

Financial Support Request Form

Leveler.info peer to peer wealth distribution

If you have lost your job:

  • Appy for unemployment
    • March 30 update: New federal law allows states to extend benefits to self-employed and gig workers, and to provide an extra $600 per week as well as an additional 13 weeks of benefits. Read more at COVID-19 Information.
  • If you had a work-study position on campus, first check with your supervisor to see if your college will pay you for the remainder of the semester even though you cannot work on campus. The Federal Government has authorized schools to do this.
  • If you have children, apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Through bi-weekly cash allowances and other key supportive services, this public benefit supports parents who meet specific criteria. Some colleges/universities as well as non-profits, offer support with the application.

Assistance for Specific Industries

If you work in a tipped or service-worker job (car driver, personal service worker, restaurant, delivery) there is cash assistance available

If you work in a restaurant, there are relief funds available here and here

Bartender Emergency Assistance Program

If you are a domestic worker (nanny, home health worker, house cleaner), you may be eligible for a cash grant

Basic living assistance (rent or mortgage) available for music industry professionals. Initial grant requests can be made up to $1,000 to compensate for cancelled work that was scheduled and lost.

Assistance for eligible professional writers (fiction and non-fiction authors, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, translators, and journalists)

For those who need a loan— Jewish organizations are making interest-free loans all over the country, you can learn more here and here. You do not need to be Jewish to apply.

Other resources 

If you need food:

If you need insurance

If you need free internet

A number of providers of internet access have committed to providing access to students via the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. The arrangements vary among providers so check these webpages for the details:

If you need assistance with rent click here

  • Your state, county or city may have put a temporary stop to any evictions because of inability to pay due to COVID job loss, etc. Check for your state here
    • There may be more updated information, with rules, if you google “ (name of state or city) rent COVID” or “(name of state) rent assistance”

If you need assistance with utilities

Additional sites that are great in helping navigate community resources:



Thank you for keeping Last Call in mind as a source of up-to-date information and resources for COVID-19. We hope you can find support in this community and feel a stronger sense of security. If you have questions, need further support, or would like to collaborate, we would love to hear from you.


Happy Fourth of July 

By Geena Peyton, Nina Clark, and Aleena West (The eenas)

As we roll into our holiday season to celebrate our independence let’s show our pride by keeping our country clean and safe! Let’s show our pride by reducing our carbon footprint and getting the most bang for your buck. Last Call is here to share some fun tips and tricks to help you avoid too much food waste and make the most of what you have. 

Low-Cost Vegan 4thof July Eatz for the BBQ

  • Corn
    • Boil it, throw it on the grill, eat it out of a can, salt it up
  • Portabella Burgers
    • Grill em up and throw them in a bun, the best way to avoid getting uncomfy questions from your carnivorous uncles 
  • Good ole potato chips
    • Vegan, delicious
  • Beanz
    • Make sure to double check any baked beans are vegetarian but they’re a good way to beef up your 4th of July protein count
  • Greenz
    • Leafy foods are good for all occasions full stop

Donation Centers 

Be sure to call and see if a donation center near you will accept your food and/or donations! Here are a few places you can donate to in the DMV:


!! Friendly reminders !!

  • Remember to safely dispose of all fireworks and celebratory items!
  • Try and avoid using plastic utensils, switch to metal utensils or even your hands! (lol) 
  • If you have too much food remember try and share with neighbors or donate to those in need. (A few donation centers listed above)  
  • Reduce the number of plastic cups and bottles, if you can’t, be sure to recycle! 
  • And as always, have fun and stay safe!!  

Let Us Be Your Audience Choice!


Last Call Lately

Cheer us on at the FINALS of GW’s New Venture Competition

Call for Creativity: Snap a Photo of your Last Call Meal for a Chance to Win 

Enjoy 10 Free Meals by Generating a New Food Partner


Last Call Strives for Grand Prize at GW’s New Venture Competition

Out of more than 200 teams entered in the most competitive year yet, Last Call has advanced to the big stage, as one of the top 12 teams still standing. Join us on Thursday, April 18th from 6-8 PMas we compete for $300,000 in prizes.

We need your support to win the Audience Choice Award for $10k! 


Last Call Advances to the Big StageFREE TICKETS HERE

Winning Big, Texas Style

This past weekend, Chloe King and Benjamin Yoxall traveled to Texas for the chance to win (and eat) big. Out of 156 applicants and 56 competing teams, Last Call was one of the top 8 finalist teams at TCU Richards Values & Ventures Competition in Fort Worth, TX, winning $2500. King confirmed that everything is in fact bigger in Texas.


Benjamin Yoxall (left) and Chloe King

Creating Impactful Stories that Move the Planet Forward

Last week, Erin McGeoy attended the annual Planet Forward Storyfest Summit at GW. A video on Last Call advanced to the finals for Best Shareable Video.

Erin left the event feeling inspired to create and share stories with impact. Read about the one takeaway she got from each speaker here.


This is Erin with her leftovers (#zerowaste).

Please send us photos so we don’t have to use these 🙂


Win Free Meals for Creative Photography

Snap and share a photo of your delish Last Call meal to be entered into a photo competition for 2 free meals (#datenight). We’ll announce the first winner at the end of April, and a new winner will be chosen each month. Make sure to tag us on Facebook or Twitter (@lastcallforfood) or to e-mail us a screenshot.

Judging criteria:


-Makes us laugh

-Makes us hungry

-Touching message 🙂 


Sign a Restaurant, Enjoy 10 Free Meals

Know a restaurant or grocery store that should be on Last Call? Spread the word and help them sign up, and enjoy 10 free meals as a thank you from us. Email us for more info.

Last Call March Update



Look out for meals as little as $3 from Founding Farmers this week.
We advanced to the semi-finals of GW’s New Venture Competition.
An awesome video on Last Call was made by a fellow GW student.
We’re hosting a DC-wide College Food Security Summit.

Founding Farmers Meals

Welcome back to campus GW students! We know the week after spring break can be hard. Why not treat yourself to $3 Mac n Cheese and $5 entrees from Founding Farmers? Check out our shop page M-F to pick up meals from 10-11:30am, and make sure you’re signed up for SMS notifications or update your notification preferences.

Video about Last Call Advances to Finals of Planet Forward Storyfest

This video, produced by Dylan Trupiano, is a finalist for Planet Forward’s Storyfest, an event that recognizes the most compelling student-told stories on environmental issues and solutions. Watch the video here, read more about the Storyfest here, and reserve your free tickets for the event April 4-5.

Last Call Advances to Semi-Finals of GW’s New Venture Competition

Last Call was one of 36 teams that advanced to the semi-finals of GW’s New Venture Competition April 1-3. Come out and watch the finals on April 18th. 

DC College Food Security Summit

Last Call, The Store, Food Recovery Network, and the Hoya Hub at Georgetown will help host a panel and town hall discussion about campus food security on April 25th at GW’s Marvin Center. We are seeking students across the DC area to be part of our media campaign with Steve Rosenfield. If you’d like to help contribute this event, please reach out to us!

Let us know your feedback!

Have you placed an order through Last Call already? Awesome! Help us serve you better by taking this customer feedback survey. Or, email us and tell us your thoughts. We’d love to hear them!

Weekly Shoutout

A HUGE thank you to Lisa Wise from BirdSEED, the philanthropy arm of Nest/Roost and Starling DC, for awarding Last Call $2,500 in procurement funding for business development. From our flock to yours, thank you!

What to Expect When Using Last Call

  1. Usually, you will receive a notification via email or SMS of disounted meals.
  2. After placing your order on our online store, head to the restaurant during the pickup window specified in the meal description. You MUST pick up your meal during the pickup window!
  3. Tell the restaurant you’re with Last Call and show your receipt. Your meal will be prepared shortly!
  4. Bring your own container, utensils, or other reusable items to help the restaurant and the environment! 
Shop for Deals

Last Call Launch Update



Welcome new Foodies! Our user base has grown 32% since our launch! 
We wish we could hug you all! Your support has been incredible.
Look out for meals from Beefsteak, Founding Farmers, GRK, and Tonic.
Tell your friends to sign up for notifications (SMS or email)!

What to Expect When Using Last Call

  1. Usually, you will receive a notification via email or SMS of disounted meals.
  2. After placing your order on our online store, head to the restaurant during the pickup window specified in the meal description. You MUST pick up your meal during the pickup window!
  3. Tell the restaurant you’re with Last Call and show your receipt. Your meal will be prepared shortly!
  4. Bring your own container, utensils, or other reusable items to help the restaurant and the environment! 

We love our fans!

We enjoyed meeting so many passionate people interested in working for Last Call at GW’s Startup Fair this past Tuesday. In particular, we loved meeting our very first Last Call customer, Nerina! Thanks for stopping by.

Dude, Where’s My Food?

As our fans may have noticed, deals have been rather random these past few weeks. Rest assured, more offers are on the way! We appreciate your support as we get restaurants comfortable using the platform and iron out technical hiccups. 

Let us know your feedback!

Have you placed an order through Last Call already? Awesome! Help us serve you better by taking this customer feedback survey. Or, email us and tell us your thoughts. We’d love to hear them!

GW Launch!



We are LAUNCHING! *cue fireworks*
Keep an eye out for discounted meals from your favorite restaurants like Beefsteak, Founding Farmers, GRK, and Tonic.
Tell your friends to sign up for notifications (SMS or email)!
Check out our latest media mentions below

What to Expect When Using Last Call

  1. Usually, you will receive a notification via email or SMS of disounted meals.
  2. After placing your order on our online store, head to the restaurant during the pickup window specified in the meal description. You MUST pick up your meal during the pickup window!
  3. Tell the restaurant you’re with Last Call and show your receipt. Your meal will be prepared shortly!
  4. Bring your own container, utensils, or other reusable items to help the restaurant and the environment! 

President LeBlanc on Last Call

Check out this video (beginning at 5:30) of GW’s President LeBlanc giving Last Call a shoutout during his talk. “Everybody I tell this idea to says ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’” LeBlanc said. “I don’t know why every college campus doesn’t have an app like that.”

Last Call Named One of DC’s Top 20 Startups to Watch

Last Call earned a spot on Technical.ly‘s 20 DC-Area Startups Worth Watching This Year. We’re honored to be included on this list among some great startups. 

Further With Food Highlights College Food Insecurity

FurtherWithFood, an amazing resource for finding food recovery solutions throughout the supply chain, featured college food insecurity and the work Last Call is doing in their latest newsletter. Check it out here!

My Story // Our Beginnings

My Story // Our Beginnings

By Erin McGeoy, Founder & CEO

I was inspired to start Last Call after working on the Food Waste Team at the World Wildlife Fund, where I studied the negative environmental and social impacts of food waste.

Almost 1/3 of all food produced globally is thrown out– enough food to feed everyone in the world. This wasted food accounts for as much as 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while unnecessarily wasting precious resources such as land, water, and energy.

As an environmentalist, it hurt my heart to learn about the unnecessary use of our planet’s resources for wasted food. As a collegiate student-athlete who experienced hunger frequently, it made me mad.

I studied Marketing and played Division 1 Water Polo at George Washington University, which was possible due to the academic and athletic scholarships I received, as well as the financial aid package offered to me.

In a city as expensive as D.C., it was difficult for me to financially justify eating 3 meals a day. I signed up for newsletters from different student organizations and university departments to learn about all the events that offered free food on campus, posting my knowledge to a Facebook group I created called Free Food In Foggy Bottom. I utilized our university’s food pantry. I would try to steal an extra protein bar that was offered to athletes after a weights session, which usually resulted in punishment, or I would ask my teammates if they would give me theirs.

I felt ashamed that I could not afford Sweetgreen or Whole Foods on a regular basis, something that seemed to be the norm of my peers. Many of my friends had parents who were able to refill their meal card when they ran out, but that was not a reality for me.

Attending an affluent college when I was far from it was difficult. It also didn’t help that the GW Meal Plan set students up for failure. A GW Dining Student Fellows Report published in 2018 shared that “freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors are allocated $6.10, $4.02, $3.27, and $1.78 per meal per day, respectively. However, GW dining vendors charge students on average $10 per meal, with the university receiving a 10% cut from most vendors. Essentially, students on campus are required to purchase a meal plan and are subsequently forced to spend it at locations where the university is able to make a profit while students go hungry… Many students do not have access to kitchens. The largest freshman dorm has a student to kitchen ratio of 1,116 to 1.”

My family and I could not afford to budget in more money for food on top of what we already paid GW. I was relieved when this report was released, because up until then, I thought I was really bad at budgeting. I also thought I was alone in facing this issue.

Yet after doing more research on hunger, I realized I was not alone. One in eight Americans experienced food insecurity in 2017, which can be defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food, and in D.C., 14.5 percent of residents are food insecure. Additionally, a survey conducted by the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness found that 48 percent of college students reported food insecurity in the previous 30 days, including 22 percent with very low levels of food security that qualify them as hungry.

I started Last Call because food waste should no longer be tolerated, food insecurity needs to be talked about more, and we need an efficient solution that decreases both food waste and hunger.

I know from personal experiences and research that many restaurants just trash the surplus food they have at the end of the day. 84% of unused food in American restaurants end up being disposed of, and only 1.4% is donated.

Last Call fills a niche between donation and disposal, and incentivizes restaurants to sell out instead of throw out. Last Call provides more affordable meal options to members of the community beyond what is currently available, and we do this all while helping our planet.

Treat yourself, your wallet, and your world.

Last Call is launching on George Washington’s campus on January 28th 2019.

Avoiding Food Waste this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a holiday of abundance. Tables overflowing with turkey and tofurkey (for the weird cousins), grandma’s 20-ingredient stuffing, rolls and buns galore, that weird cranberry jello thing no one wants to touch, and at least, like, 10 different pies. Crowded around the table are family members of all shapes and sizes—some too small to reach the table or cut their own turkey, others so old bits of mashed potato blend into white beards. Among the family and the food is song, laughter, wine, and of course an argument or two (or ten) about politics with grandpa. Yet nothing is more abundant (as cheesy as it sounds) as the love in the room, family united by food for another year of giving thanks.

This abundance has only one foreseeable downside, other than jabbing fingers over the midterm results. Americans throw out on average 200 million pounds over turkey over Thanksgiving, along with millions more pounds of Thanksgiving fare and less-loved vegetables (or weird jello dishes). On Thanksgiving alone, Americans throw away $277 million worth of wholesome, delicious food; over the course of the entire year, that number reaches $165 billion, or close to $3,000 for the average family.

This is nothing less than a tragedy when one in eight Americans go hungry each day. This is an issue near and dear to the work we do here at Last Call, working with restaurants and grocery stores to ensure good food goes to those who need it, but what happens at the Thanksgiving table is ultimately up to you and your family. Here are some ideas for avoiding food waste this Thanksgiving you can share with the whole crew around the table:

  • Freeze leftovers! Freezing food can keep it good for months, saving it for when you’re next craving that turkey sandwich.
  • Spread the love! Send those sweet, mashed, and baked potatoes home with friends and family. While it is difficult to donate prepared food, there may be neighbors or friends in need who would love a fresh-baked casserole.
  • Use the Guest-Imator. This excellent tool helps you estimate the amount of food you need to prepare based on the number of people coming to your table (and the size of their appetite).
  • Create new, even better dishes with your leftovers. That weird jello thing has to have some use, right?

Using a few simple tricks and tools can massively cut down on the amount of food wasted over the holiday, and make more people (and the planet) happier in the process. If you have time, consider volunteering (preferably not on the actual holiday, as there is often an overabundance of volunteers) by delivering meals to people in need, working at a soup kitchen, or donating non-perishable items to your local food bank. There are many ways to give back, and give thanks, this Thanksgiving. Let’s all start by not wasting the abundance of food we put so much of our love into!

1776 Accelerator!

Last Call was recently accepted into the 1776 Accerlator Fall 2018 Cohort. We’re excited to work with such a fantastic group of people to refine our business and learn how we can best serve our community. Check out the video from our founders!