Tiger Pantry, an agent of the Central Missouri Food Bank, became the 10th auxiliary under the Missouri Students Association on Wednesday, joining the ranks of other auxiliaries such as STRIPES, KOMU and MUTV.
“(Adding Tiger Pantry as an auxiliary) makes it a more permanent fixture in MSA,” MSA Director of Student Communications Zach Toombs said.
As an agent of the Central Missouri Food Bank, Tiger Pantry aims to benefit students, staff and faculty at MU by providing food and education to its clients.
MSA Director of Student Services Nick Droege said the move will make Tiger Panty more sustainable in the future.
Until Wednesday, Tiger Pantry was housed under MSA’s Department of Student Services. The move to an auxiliary does not change the program’s aims, but it changes the way Tiger Pantry functions within MSA.
As an auxiliary, Tiger Pantry will have its own operation budget independent from DSS and can operate more freely. Droege said it will also allow DSS to focus on developing new services.
Toombs said he hopes Tiger Pantry’s move will elevate its publicity to the level of other MSA auxiliaries.
“It helps with visibility,” he said. “The best known aspects of MSA are its auxiliaries like STRIPES.”
The move was not only for publicity and permanence; it was also out of necessity. Compared to other DSS programs, Tiger Pantry requires more work to function.
“The project requires a lot of attention and staffing. It’s different from a program like (MSA’s) Bike Share, which does not require the same type of commitment,” Toombs said.
The idea of Tiger Pantry began in January 2012 by Droege after he learned about the Full Circle Food Pantry at the University of Arkansas.
Once Droege came back from Arkansas, he began researching the need for food assistance at MU. He discovered that 15,000 students receive need-based aid, 6,000 students receive Pell Grants, 1,000 students receive less than $1,000 from family contributions and 20 students are reported to be homeless, according to the Tiger Pantry website.
Others who are in need include students from low income backgrounds, international students who have difficulties getting money overseas or have funding cuts for their programs, graduate students who receive small stipends on which to live, student parents who need to support a family and staff who are only paid at or below the poverty level.
These statics prompted Droege, Tiger Pantry Director Anne Deaton and Central Missouri Food Bank Director Peggy Kirkpatrick, and eight coordinators to develop the Tiger Pantry, which would provide food and education to those in need at MU.
Anyone can begin receiving food from Tiger Pantry by filling out a first-time user information form either online or at Tiger Pantry’s main location on 1200 Rock Quarry Road. After receiving a client ID card, clients can receive food from the pantry once a month after filling out a request form.
Along with food, Droege and other volunteers at Tiger Pantry want to provide health and wellness education for clients. This includes helping clients sign up for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and referring them to the Office of Financial Success, Wellness Resource Center and the MU Student Health Center.
“It’s important to be a part of a (long-term) solution and be more than just a temporary fix,” Droege said. “Education will allow clients to fight back to poverty.”
Currently, Tiger Pantry is in a promotion stage. Interested organizations can request a presentation and fliers are being made. Still, Droege and other volunteers are relying on publicity through word-of-mouth.
“We want to be respectful in the way we promote it,” he said.
Tiger Pantry officially begins serving MU on Oct. 2.