Alumni association raises money for Kangaroo Pantry, helps provide for students in need

Kangaroo Pantry’s main location is 4825 Troost in room 103. (UMKC Office of Student Involvement)

Joeli Toscano

Monday signaled the end of the UMKC Alumni Association’s weeklong virtual 5K in support of the Kangaroo Pantry. The 5K raised money and awareness for the pantry, which works to ensure no student goes without food and basic necessities during the school year.

Donations from the 5K will go to providing items like non-perishables, eggs, vegetables, bread and dairy products, as well as feminine hygiene products, soap, deodorant, shampoo and other necessities.

“Proper nutrition and access to basic needs are essential for the success of our Roos,” said Malavika Rajaram, director of Internal Affairs for the UMKC SGA. “This is the belief that has sustained the Roo Pantry this long and especially through the COVID-19 pandemic, which presented a particular challenge to many of our students.”

Once a week, students, faculty and staff can pick up to 20 items from the pantry at the main 4825 Troost location. Fresh produce is not included in this 20-item count, and up to five of the items can be protein. There are also pre-order and pickup options available online. The only requirements to use the Roo Pantry are a school ID card and number.

“Any student or faculty member can use the resources from the Roo Pantry, no matter their need,” UMKC SGA Vice President Abigail Weiler said. “The pantry is designed to be accessible for any person on campus.” 

Weiler said UMKC offers other additional resources to students, ranging from housing services to financial literacy programs and free business attire.

The Roo Pantry is staffed through volunteer hours from students, faculty and KC community members. The pantry relies solely on donations of both food and funds from the community. A large portion of donations comes from partner organizations, like Harvesters and Whole Foods. 

Students looking to donate meals can also contribute through the Swipe Out Hunger Program. The program allows students using certain meal plans to donate up to 10 unused meal swipes per semester. Donated swipes go to students in need and can be spent at the dining hall or smart market.

Weiler said she is focusing on advocating for more students around campus to make use of the pantry’s resources

“My goal is to eliminate the stigma around utilizing the pantry,” Weiler said.

The Roo Pantry opened its first location in March 2015 and has since expanded to various satellite locations to increase its service area. In addition to the main location at 4825 Troost (Room 103), the pantry has smaller stations in the Student Union near Jazzman’s, on the second floor of the Atterbury Student Success Center and on the first floor of the UMKC School of Medicine.

Anyone looking to donate non-perishable food can drop off items at the yellow bins in the Student Union on campus or the hallway of the 4825 Troost pantry location.

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