With Nick Droege elected as the next Missouri Students Association president, Tiger Pantry needed a new director. Droege chose Paul Haluszczak, Tiger Pantry’s current assessment coordinator, as his successor.
There was no application process for Haluszczak’s appointment.
“Tiger Pantry is at a stage where it can’t really take anyone outside of the pantry as a director, so there was no need to send out a public application for it,” Droege said.
There will be an application process for future directors, Droege said.
Droege said he selected Haluszczak as this year's director because of his passion for the project.
“Paul spent hours and hours of time in the pantry,” Droege said. “He was the clear choice.”
Haluszczak, who was a part of the pantry from its beginning, said he initially didn't realize the extent of the need for the pantry.
“When I found out about all the statistics from (the) university of the need for (a pantry), I was shocked by a lot of it,” Haluszczak said.
He cited statistics listed on the Tiger Pantry website, such as the 1,000 students who receive $1,000 or less in financial assistance from family and the 20 students who reported homelessness in 2012.
“Knowing there are students going to our school who are homeless and can’t provide for themselves and there are people deciding between buying their food … and paying bills – we just don’t think that should be a concern for people trying to get an education,” Haluszczak said.
Droege complimented Haluszczak’s enthusiasm for the project.
“Paul (Haluszczak) has a tremendous work ethic and a huge heart, especially when it comes to serving others,” Droege said.
Droege and other coordinators said they noticed Haluszczak’s passion. Droege said many of the other coordinators recommended Haluszczak to become director when Droege asked who was interested.
“The level of commitment and passion he puts into his past duties are obvious just from looking at his actions alone,” Tiger Pantry Operations co-chairman Mackenzie Thiessen said. “He is very well integrated into the people and responsibilities that will be necessary for the director of the pantry, and I have no doubt he will continue to help Tiger Pantry grow and succeed.”
The support from the other coordinators was unexpected, Haluszczak said.
“I didn’t realize I was going to be the next in line, so to speak,” he said.
Haluszczak accepted the offer to become director Friday and officially will begin his new role Dec. 1. Droege will be training him during the next few months.
Haluszczak said he does not plan to make any drastic changes to the pantry.
“Nothing is set at the moment, since we just opened the pantry,” Haluszczak said. "Tiger Pantry looks to better itself and further improve its operations and achieve even bigger goals than before. Changes in the pantry are always happening and it starts with myself and the wonderful coordinators I work with to make it all happen."
Instead, he said he wants to focus on making changes that keep the pantry running smoothly.
“Our largest challenge currently is expanding the kinds of products we provide to clients of the pantry,” Thiessen said.
Haluszczak said he is looking forward to the pantry’s future, especially with the possibility of supplying fresh produce.
“I’m really excited to see where the pantry goes to the end of the year and the changes we have coming up at the semester,” Haluszczak said.