A food assistance program for students, by students

The pantry has distributed 15,500 pounds of food since October.

No other student accomplishment helped students, supported the community or made national headlines like Tiger Pantry did.

The pantry, which opened October 1, 2012 as a new auxiliary of the Missouri Students Association, provides a monthly bag of food for any student, staff or faculty member who needs the assistance – no need assessment required.

“(We want) to keep our doors open to everyone who needs help,” Tiger Pantry Marketing Coordinator Rafa Nizam said the day of the opening.

The idea for the pantry began when MSA President Nick Droege learned about a similar pantry at the University of Arkansas. From there, Droege researched the need for a food pantry at MU.

What he found was 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.

There was definitely an unmet need for the service, and, thanks to Tiger Pantry, those students, faculty and staff finally have it.

Since the pantry opened in October, it has served 1,100 people and distributed 15,500 pounds of food, Tiger Pantry Director Paul Haluszczak said. Also, it has added fresh produce to its food supply.

What is even more remarkable is that the pantry is completely self-sufficient. When MSA created its Fiscal Year 2014 budget, Tiger Pantry received $0. Instead, it is relying completely on fundraising initiatives for now until the foreseeable future.

“I just think this is so exemplary of the Mizzou student body and what they mean when they say ‘One Mizzou’ and how they’re willing to live One Mizzou,” adjunct professor Anne Deaton said at the opening.

Their work was also a great representation of the school to the entire country after the Associated Press picked the story up, reaching readers of the Boston Globe, Yahoo! News and Fox News.

The work of Droege, pantry coordinators and volunteers showed how students at MU are willing to help each other and what an impact it can make.

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