Updated: May 19
When Judy Milliano first volunteered as a freshman, it was simply to add a line to her resume. But as she saw firsthand its impact on the Mizzou community, Tiger Pantry quickly became a more meaningful, personal cause to her.
"I wanted to become fully involved in fighting food insecurity," said Judy. "It wasn't long before I joined the executive board."
As a fundraising coordinator, Judy is involved in scheduling and promoting the many drives that keep their operations flowing and the shelves stocked. This academic year, there have been 44 food drives thus far, with over 25,000 pounds of food collected.
Tiger Pantry typically distributes between 3500 and 5000 pounds of food per month to students, faculty, or staff members of the University of Missouri in need of assistance.
That need is constant, though — and while volunteers like Judy work to ensure an equally constant influx of supplies, cash donations are the only way to remedy a sudden lack of fresh produce, for example, or a food drive that delivers tomato sauce but no noodles. In these scenarios, the many staff and faculty members who donate regularly are a blessing — to date, over 1,400 MU employees make monthly contributions through an automatic payroll deduction.
The steady, predictable nature of those gifts allow the volunteers at Tiger Pantry to better anticipate their needs. And as a result, this entirely student-led program has been able to maximize their ability to assist, educate and empower those facing food insecurity on campus and beyond.
"The people that I had the privilege to work with are some of the most dedicated and passionate people I know," said Judy. " I'm so glad I've been able to be part of Tiger Pantry, and I'm so excited to watch it continue to grow!"
To learn more about ways you can support Tiger Pantry, visit tigerpantry.missouri.edu/get-involved