Pooky’s Pantry Celebrates Eleven Years in 2023

Zainab Sohail, Reporter

Valencia College’s Pooky’s Pantry held their eleventh-year birthday celebration at East Campus to bring awareness of Pooky’s being open for the semester.

Pooky holds celebratory birthday balloons and poses on Valencia College campus. (Student Development)

Food insecurity on students can have a long-term effect as students may have to choose between getting a higher education or paying for their food. According to a 2021 nationwide survey conducted by Temple University, approximately 39 percent of students attending a 2-year college faced food insecurity. Three out of five students of the 198,000 surveyed experiencing basic needs insecurity.

According to an August 2021 Forbes Advisor article, “Students who deal with hunger often get lower grades than their counterparts, and tend to withdraw before completing their degree or certificate”.

Pooky’s Pantry was formed in 2012 at East Campus to help students in need or who may not have the resources to get essential items at home. Valencia College students can get non-perishable food items, fruits, vegetables, stationary items and hygiene products for free.

The East Campus Pooky’s Pantry is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. “Donations are received from students and faculty as well as food from Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida“, explained Student Development Student Leader and Student Government Association Administrative Officer Soraine Leonard.

The birthday celebration was held in the hopes to bring awareness to students that the pantry is available. “I saw an increase in the number of students that visit the Pooky’s Pantry after the celebration”, said Leonard. The donation boxes for students and faculty are available in Buildings 4, 5 and 8. Student Development reported 116 students attended the birthday celebration in January.

Visit Pooky’s Pantry here for more community and food security resources.

East Campus Student Development pose with Pooky at the 11-Year Celebration of Pooky’s Pantry.