AmeriCorps is a government funded program that arrived at Missouri State University this previous spring semester. The AmeriCorps’ organization seeks making a difference in the community. For MSU, this organization is involved with the bear pantry. Our AmeriCorps’ members have been running the bear pantry this summer, and they have been planning projects to better the pantry experience.
A New Layout
If you’ve been in the pantry recently, you may have realized that the set-up has changed. We have moved our nonfood items into cabinets that are out in the hallway. You can now walk through as you head to the food room. We have now made the nonfood room into a room specifically for backstock. By making this room backstock, we can easily keep track of what items there are plenty of and which items we need more of. We are excited to hear about our user’s opinions as we are nearing the new semester.
Soon, we are planning to add some murals to the walls outside the main pantry rooms. We are excited to bring forth these colorful additions to our space for everyone to enjoy.
The New Addition
At the beginning of June, the pantry received a new double door refrigerator. We have been using this as an opportunity to split up dairy and nondairy items. With this addition, we can add in more cold items and keep more things in stock, such as eggs and cold fruit.
This amazing new addition has allowed us to move the once known “dairy” fridge into the backstock room. The fridge in our employees’ only room will allow us to restock cold, refrigerated items throughout the week.
With summertime in full effect, vegetables and fruits are coming in. We have been getting many donations from the campus garden. The garden has donated rhubarb, asparagus, cabbage, tomatoes, and various other summer produce. By putting in work with local gardens, some of our pantry workers have gathered items that are also donated to the pantry, such as strawberries, lettuce, corn, and herbs. Oftentimes, these are freshly picked items that are brought into the pantry for our customers to enjoy. Thanks to our hydroponics systems, we have been putting out lettuce mix, arugula, and basil.
One goal this summer that our AmeriCorps members have solicited is community partnerships. The AmeriCorps community resource team has been asking around the community for healthy opportunities to give the pantry users, and it does not just involve nutrition. The community resource team has gathered many resources that our pantry members can benefit from including: SNAP, rental assistance, energy assistance, dental services, and more. Below is a list of some of the new partnerships as of late spring semester throughout this summer:
- Ozark Food Harvest
- Catholic Charities
- Planned Parenthood
- The Aids Project of the Ozarks
- Consumer Credit Counseling Services
- Legal Aid Project of Greene County
- Ozark Area Community Action Corporation
- Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program
Our pantry team is excited to bring these resources to our pantry members to enhance experience not only in the pantry, but also gain valuable information about community resources they can use. If you or anyone you know ever need assistance and/or curious about the resources we can give out, please contact us!
The fall semester is almost here! Our pantry team members are focusing on ways to better the pantry for this upcoming academic year. We have been working on new mission and vision statements for the bear pantry. These statements are our goals to assist in serving our Missouri State University community.
In order get an idea of how many people we are serving during the academic year, there will be new forms for our customers to fill out. August 8th will be start day for these forms. Every member will need to fill these forms out. The forms will be available to fill out online or in the pantry.
Huiying Bian says
You have been doing a fantastic job! I really appreciate it!