Tigers in the wild aren’t known for their benevolence, but homecoming philanthropy activities can ensure that the MU student body keeps its reputation of performing good works.
This year, around 200 student volunteers participated in Tigers Taming Hunger, a food drive to benefit the Central Missouri Food Bank. From Oct. 7 to Oct. 14, the volunteers visited Columbia homes to collect food for the needy.
On Oct. 7, university students handed out grocery bags on doorsteps around Columbia, and a week later, on Oct. 14, they picked them up, said Ryan Murdock, one of three directors of MU’s Homecoming activities.
Murdock estimated the volunteers would distribute bags to about 75 percent of the residential areas in the city.
In addition, monetary donations to the food bank were accepted and bins were placed in local grocery stores for donations of non-perishable goods.
The Central Missouri Food Bank has 145 agencies in 33 Missouri counties. The food bank’s coverage area includes more than 100,000 people living below the federal poverty level who are eligible to receive food.
“Think of us as a warehouse until the food goes out to agencies,” said Chelsea Davis, development associate at the food bank. “Some of our agencies are actual soup kitchens, so they prepare food on site. Others are similar to a grocery store, and they allow people to come in and shop for the month.”
According to Davis, Tigers Taming Hunger volunteers collected 7,487 pounds of food last year — enough to help feed more than 5,500 people. The drive also brought in about $2,000.
“We can take $1 and turn that into 20 pounds of food,” Davis said.
The Columbia Missourian reported in August that poverty is on the rise in Columbia. While the number of Boone County residents living in poverty decreased by 5,000 between 2005 and 2006, the number of Columbia residents in poverty rose by more than 600 within the same period.