Since opening last spring, the Kangaroo Pantry has helped UMKC community members eliminate food deficits in their homes and regain a sense of security for food related issues.
Kiana and Tiana Mullins, freshmen twins at UMKC are first-time users of the Kangaroo Pantry and are pleased with the outcome.
“I wasn’t expecting to get this much food from [The Kangaroo Pantry],” Kiana Mullins said. Her sister, Tiana Mullins, added that they got cereal, macaroni and a bunch of canned food.
Every pantry user gets a standard-sized, reusable tote bag stuffed with non-perishable goods to enjoy for the month.
“Our goal is to fight food insecurities,” said Jordan Conway, the Kangaroo Pantry manager and graduate assistant in the Office of Student Involvement. “If that means not having enough money for food every month or whatever [students’] issues might be, we want to be able to make sure they’re here to focus on school and getting a good education and not having to worry about getting food.”
Most of the donations to the pantry come from different campus departments and the residence halls, which have food drive competitions to help out. Anyone can donate, but only UMKC students, faculty and staff are able to utilize the facility. The pantry is always looking for non-perishable donations, but all donations will go to great use.
The Kangaroo Pantry is open only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The pantry has only been open for a little over a year and very few staff and volunteers are available throughout the week. They are willing to expand to five days a week if students, faculty and staff are in need of additional days.
Freshman Taylor Rippe, has been volunteering at the Kangaroo Pantry since the school year began and loves helping others out whenever she can.
“The Pantry was talked about a lot at orientation and I wanted to be involved with it,” Rippe said.
Not many students have used the facility, but receiving food is an easy process to follow for first-time users.
“On the Kangaroo Pantry website, there’s a first-time user form or students can come in and fill one out and we ask them for their contact information, if they’re living on campus or not and if they have any dependents,” Conway said.
Once that’s complete, a form must be filled out for what is needed and students, faculty, and staff can select what they need from a list given and a volunteer will bring a tote bag to them filled with groceries.
Although not many students have heard about the Kangaroo Pantry, the Mullins twins found out about the resource early.
“We knew about this when we first moved in,” Tiana Mullins said. “We saw a magnet on our refrigerator in the dorms.”
“In one of my classes, a person with the Student Involvement Office came to talk to the class about the pantry, and I told my sister we should go,” Kiana Mullins said.
The Kangaroo Pantry is open on Tuesdays from 3:30-6:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m.
Those interested in donating to the Kangaroo Pantry or using it for its benefits should email Jordan Conway with any questions, suggestions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by The Student Health and Wellness building in room 103.