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Tiger Pantry opens to serve the needy in MU community

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 | 11:18 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A new food pantry on Rock Quarry Road that opened Tuesday has been flooded with donations and volunteers.

Nick Droege founded and will serve as the director of Tiger Pantry, which will serve only members of the MU community who are in need. This includes all students and staff.

The pantry is still totaling the donations that have been received so far, but there are quite a bit, he said.

The pantry has 10 full-time staff and 25 full-time volunteers, in addition to 500 hands-on volunteers that asked to be put on an email-list that will inform them about upcoming volunteer opportunities. 

"I'm very confident in our staff and volunteers," Droege said.

Inspired by a similar program at the University of Arkansas, Droege reasoned that if hunger was an issue on another SEC campus, it was probably an issue at MU.

According to the Tiger Pantry's website, nearly 20 MU students reported that they were homeless last semester, and there are more than 15,000 students that receive need-based financial aid.

The pantry has already received about 6,000 pounds of food from the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, which was founded in the early 1980s. Tiger Pantry will continue to receive donations from that group, Droege said. 

Droege said other food drives and fundraisers on campus for Tiger Pantry, like the one Pepe's Mexican food truck sponsored last week, have been important.

Chancellor Brady Deaton and his wife, Anne, the Panhellenic Association and coordinators and staff with the pantry have all given money, though Doege couldn't provide exact figures. 

Currently, Droege is asking for donations of toiletries and non-perishable foodsuch as canned tuna, pasta, pasta sauces and rice.

Droege said he'd like to accept perishable items such as fresh produce in the future.

"We're aiming to provide that next semester," he said. "It just wasn't possible this semester." 

Droege explained that including perishable food immediately was too much of a risk to take right away, and that Tiger Pantry wants to cover the basics first and expand from there.

The pantry aims to be a permanent fixture in the community, Droege said. 

"We want to be part of a solution," he said. "Not just a temporary fix." 

Tiger Pantry, located in room No. 8 at 1400 Rock Quarry Road, is open from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.

To donate to Tiger Pantry, contact tigerpantry@missouri.edu or visit tigerpantry.missouri.edu.


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