Kangaroo Pantry Aids Roos in Need

Recent updates to the pantry include fresh produce and client choice model
Anthony Maly, program director, stocks shelves at the Kangaroo Food Pantry.

Two years ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 11% of Americans experienced food insecurity. Since COVID-19, that number has doubled. And our UMKC Kangaroo Food Pantry is observing the same uptick in need this year.

The Kangaroo Food Pantry strives to provide food assistance for Roos in need, including students, faculty and staff.

“We had a lot of issues with COVID,” a recent pantry visitor shared. “A lot of unexpected expenses came up as a result. The Kangaroo Pantry has helped me overcome that.”

Anthony Maly, senior program manager, says historically the food pantry was distributing about 500-800 pounds of food per month but from March through August this year, they’ve given out more than 6,000 pounds.

Maly estimates the monthly need for food to be around 1,200-1,500 pounds for the duration of the semester and likely into 2021.

Interior photo of the Kangaroo Food Pantry.

The pantry opened in 2015, after UMKC staff members learned of students in need of food assistance. Since then, the pantry has seen some changes, including the addition of fresh produce and a new refrigerator and freezer that will soon house meat and dairy items. The pantry has also switched to a “full client choice” model that allows individuals to pick their own food off the shelves. A majority of these changes stem from a food security task force created by Chancellor Agrawal to examine the needs of the campus community. The task force also completed recommendations for long-term expansion of the food pantry that will enable more students, faculty and staff to take advantage of the resources.

“We had a lot of issues with COVID. A lot of unexpected expenses came up as a result. The Kangaroo Pantry has helped me overcome that.” 
— Recent pantry visitor

How to receive assistance from the Kangaroo Food Pantry

If you are a UMKC student, faculty or staff member who needs food assistance, bring your university ID and you can shop for food during the pantry’s open hours, see below. Masks or face coverings are required and a limited number of individuals can be in the space at one time. Maly says they are frequently sanitizing high-touch surface areas to ensure the pantry is clean and safe for all visitors.

Tuesday: 1:30-5:30 p.m.
Wednesday and Thursday: 1-5 p.m.

4825 Troost Ave.
Room 103
Kansas City, MO 64110

Roos are eligible to pick up 20 food items once a week, with a maximum of five proteins. Fresh produce doesn’t count toward the 20 items. If you’re unable to visit the pantry during these times, contact kangaroopantry@umkc.edu for other arrangements.

Sam Weis, graduate assistant at the pantry stocks shelves with new food arrivals.
Sam Weis, graduate assistant at the pantry, stocks new food arrivals on the shelves.
How to support the Kangaroo Food Pantry 

If you’d like to donate food to the pantry consider the most needed items below. Due to COVID-19, the pantry has been unable to hold food drives, but Maly says they are working to coordinate drives for the fall semester.

Items currently needed:

  • Canned chicken
  • Mac and cheese
  • Ramen
  • Canned vegetables

Monetary donations are important so that additional food can be purchased for the pantry, if you’d like to make a financial contribution click here.

Another way to support the Kangaroo Pantry is to participate in the UMKC Virtual 5K, Oct. 4-11. Registration is $25 and all proceeds support the pantry.

Learn more about the Kangaroo Pantry

Published: Sep 15, 2020