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story.lead_photo.caption Julie Smith/News TribuneTerrance Brown II straightens out coats and jackets Tuesday in the Lincoln University Student Resource Center located in the basement of Scruggs Center. In addition to clothing, there is non-perishable food available for students to pick up.

As most students leave for Thanksgiving break, Lincoln University is helping to support the ones who are sticking around with free resources.

The Blue Tiger Resource Center will remain open during the course of Thanksgiving break, which began Monday.

Curtis Burton, assistant director of student engagement, said his staff is working with Residence Life to reach out to the nearly 75 students staying on the Jefferson City campus over break to offer anything they need from the resource center.

Burton said he wants to make those students aware the resource center will remain open and available to them during break.

It's part of his bigger mission to grow the Blue Tiger Resource Center, which was founded last March in conjunction with the Student Government Association.

"I want to make this thing bigger," Burton said. "I want to make sure our students don't have to worry about anything outside of the classroom. That's my goal, and so the more we can get and the more we can get in, it makes for a better Lincoln University. It makes for a better Jefferson City community."

The Blue Tiger Resource Center provides free supplies, food and clothing to students, faculty and staff with no questions asked.

The Blue Tiger Resource Center is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, but Burton said he tries to have it staffed into the evening — sometimes as late at 7 p.m. — to provide students the opportunity to visit after classes or when convenient.

Although the new resource center doesn't track who comes in or the number of people it serves, Burton said a lot of students and campus community members are using it this semester.

Burton said he's working on a system to determine exactly how many people the resource center serves, but right now, he's only tracking inventory.

The resource center offers a variety of products, including clothes, children's clothes, shoes, coats, health and hygiene products, soaps and detergents, and nonperishable food items.

Burton said the nonperishable food items, like snacks or boxed macaroni, are often easy for students to grab and make in their campus residence.

It also provides students with access to free professional business attire, which is something many students are seeking, Burton said.

He said the resource center is running particularly low on women's suits and business attire.

"That's one of our biggest needs right now, some suits for women, some business clothes and attire for our women," Burton said. "A lot of people are also using our detergent, like washing detergent, fabric softener, those types of things, so we're running pretty low on those."

Students often need professional clothes for interviews or campus career days, Burton said, and they often don't have the means to go buy them on the fly.

Burton said the Blue Tiger Resource Center provides some security to students on campus because it helps to relieve the burdens associated with not having enough food or not being able to afford toothpaste on any given week.

With those distractions out of the way, Burton said, students are more free to focus on the classroom and course instruction.

"The resource center is a direct answer in trying to take away some of those needs, take away some of those stressors that our students may have," Burton said.

Many Lincoln students are first-generation college students, Burton said, which can present challenges in living independently and securing resources.

"We just want to make sure that we're able to provide and support them outside of the classroom as well," he said.

A majority of the resource center's donations come from students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and stakeholders at Lincoln, Burton said. And they donate money and items alike, he added.

Burton's office is also assisted by a class once a week. They help sort items and welcome visitors to take what they need.

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