STRIPES, Tiger Pantry and Truman’s Closet celebrate birthdays
Truman’s Closet turns 1 year old, Tiger Pantry turns 2 and STRIPES turns 13 this week.
Sep. 30, 2014
Three MSA/GPC auxiliaries are celebrating birthdays during the week of Sept. 28.
Truman’s Closet, which provides business attire to those who may not be able to afford it, celebrates its first birthday Oct. 3.
“The people involved with Truman’s Closet are just the most passionate people,” said Kevin Ackermann, Missouri Students Association operations chairman. “They’re selfless … It’s inspiring.”
Sandy Patel, MSA secretary of auxiliaries, said she has helped the closet become an auxiliary and watched them develop.
“Their closet is completely packed; they offer every size, so they can’t turn anyone away because of size,” she said. “It’s huge how much their donations have grown.”
The closet now receives a wide array of donations, she said.
Ackermann said the organization was the first thing he got involved with as a freshman. He got involved before it opened and has seen it grow over the past year.
“It’s been really neat to watch it grow so much,” he said. “When we first started, … we had 50-something items for people to check out, and now we have over 1,200, so it’s outrageous growth, and it’s been really cool to be a part of that.”
Ackermann said the space has doubled and Truman’s Closet offers interview tips, in addition to providing business clothes. Staff are currently working on organizing the space more efficiently to showcase the closet’s best clothes and plan on branching out more in the coming year with a coat drive.
“We get to provide a service that is absolutely needed that a lot of people don’t realize is needed,” Ackermann said.
On Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the MU Student Center, Truman’s Closet will be celebrating its first birthday with cake, Hot Box Cookies and a photo booth, Ackermann said. It will also run a profit share at Yogoluv the day after.
“We’re still a growing organization,” Ackermann said “But we’re well on our way.”
Tiger Pantry officially turns 2 years old Oct. 3.
The pantry started because Missouri is the second most food-insecure state in the nation, and there is a need on the MU campus, Patel said.
She said she worked as one of the original volunteers and that the organization has grown more than anyone would have thought.
“We’ve donated 50,000 pounds of food since we opened in 2012,” resource coordinator Shannon Orbe said. “So that’s also a huge mile marker this year.”
Orbe said she has enjoyed her time with Tiger Pantry and how it allows her to give back to the community of Columbia.
In the past year, Orbe said she has helped them add to their operations.
It is one of the few student-run pantries in the nation that offer fresh produce, which is seasonally donated by the Bradford Research Center Farm, Orbe said. As of this summer, the pantry also offers bread, and it is working on providing eggs.
The pantry has also switched to paperless operations and will soon accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program credits.
Tiger Pantry also hopes to have more community involvement with “full circle” volunteers that work outside the pantry with the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri and Bradford Farms, Orbe said.
On Oct. 3, Tiger Pantry will host an Empty Bowls event with the MSA/GPC Craft Studio, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Memorial Union.
The soup lunch is $10 for students, and participants get to keep their locally-crafted bowls. The event mimics a real soup kitchen to put attendees in the shoes of individuals who may have to utilize soup kitchens.
Other birthday week events Tiger Pantry has on the schedule are a “Food Stamped” screening Oct. 2 and a presentation on food stamp myths Oct. 8.
“There’s so much that’s happened in just two years,” Orbe said. “Even when I graduate, I’m excited to see what happens to Tiger Pantry.”
STRIPES will turn 13 years old Oct. 4.
“They’ve grown exponentially since they started in 2001,” Patel said. “They’re going to grow so big in the next few years. It’s amazing just to see where it’s going to be.”
Executive Director Megan Cahill said she started volunteering for STRIPES her freshman year and has been involved with STRIPES for seven semesters.
“It’s just something that I’m passionate about, so I really wanted to get involved,” she said. “The more I got involved, the more I realized I loved the organization and the people I got to work with. It was the fact that we obviously are obviously saving lives, and not only helping other students, but the entire city of Columbia every night.”
Cahill said whether volunteers help a single person home or a car full of five students, it is worth it because they help whomever else might be driving that night.
She said STRIPES is constantly trying to improve its services, whether it is increasing the number of cars or simply getting the word out.
The organization recently added its 13th car and has officially given more than 163,000 rides, Cahill said.
Its official birthday is Oct. 4, but on Oct. 2, STRIPES will celebrate in the MU Student Center from noon to 2 p.m. with cupcakes and balloons.
STRIPES will also be out in a membership drive around campus for additions to next semester’s volunteers.
“I only see it going up from here,” Cahill said.