Move to Student Union allows easier access to critical resource
The UMKC food pantry is moving from its current location on Troost Avenue to the new Dr. Raj Bala Agrawal CARE Center in the student union to provide better access for the university community.
“The Chancellor’s Food Security Task Force that was formed in 2020 recommended that we expand pantry operations and eliminate barriers to pantry use,” Anthony Maly, senior manager student support services, says. “One of the task force’s long-term goals in relation to both of those recommendations was to move the current pantry location from 4825 Troost to a more central location on the Volker Campus.”
The Roo Pantry will be located on the first floor of the Student Union in the new Dr. Raj Bala Agrawal CARE Center, which will provide a variety of support services to students, faculty and staff in areas such as housing and financial insecurity. The more centralized location will enable students to visit the pantry when they are on campus for classes, as well as coordinate with other student services within the care center.
“We hope that this more centralized location will help further destigmatize the use of the food pantry by placing it in the same building as a variety of other student services,” Maly says. “It will also help us coordinate services students may need with other offices that are closer to the new location.”
Maly is hopeful that when faculty and staff are aware of students in need, they will refer them to pantry in its new location.
“They may even be able to walk with them directly to the pantry when an immediate need is identified,” he says.
Maly says the demand for support services from the UMKC community has increased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the pantry has been able to meet those needs.
“We continue to serve a much larger population than we did prior to the onset of the pandemic, and we do not anticipate that need changing in either the short or long term,” Maly says. “We have expanded the amount of food we are acquiring and the hours of availability each academic year to meet that need.”
The establishment of the Dr. Raj Bala Agrawal CARE Center was made possible through donations received to the Dr. Raj Bala Agrawal Memorial Fund established December 2020. The fund recognizes and honors the life of Chancellor Mauli Agrawal’s mother, who was grateful for the opportunity to engage with the many generous friends and alumni of the university and cheer on UMKC students.