Student food pantry gets boost from corporate donor

Samantha Ashby, organizes the student food pantry

Samantha Ashby, Student Government Association president at Florida Polytechnic University, organizes the student food pantry at the Student Development Center.

The food pantry at Florida Polytechnic University aims to take a big burden from the shoulders of students who may not know exactly where their next meal will come from.

“There is a mindset that if a student can afford to attend college, then they can afford to buy food, but there are many students throughout the nation who are food insecure because their money goes toward paying for tuition, books, fees, and other essentials for class assignments,” said Kristin Stokes, associate director of campus wellness management. “No one wants to see students have to choose between food and getting an education.”

The student pantry on campus provides food, toiletries, and other necessary items to help students focus on their education. WebstaurantStore, an online restaurant supply company, recently donated $2,000 to support the food pantry.

“As a company, we said, ‘This is a really good cause and it can help a lot of students,’” said Kelly Laimbeer, office manager at the company’s Tampa, Florida, office. “School is really challenging to begin with, and struggling with food insecurity can be a huge obstacle in a student's life, so it's comforting to know we are able to help with such a difficult issue..”

Samantha Ashby, Student Government Association president, said the donation offers support at a critical time.

“Currently, the pantry is primarily supported by donations from our Phoenix community and the Student Government Association, so this donation allows us to expand the pantry and fill in gaps from donations, ensuring we’re able to provide proper nutrition and sanitary products,” Ashby said.

“We are grateful for WebstaurantStore’s donation, which underscores the positive impact industry can have on student education,” said Paula Reed, director of corporate and foundation relations at Florida Poly. 

“Corporations can be small or they can be large and there is a place for you to support and engage at Florida Poly,” Reed said. “Our students have a rigorous curriculum, and a donation like this really does impact the success of students getting their degrees because they don’t have to worry about accessing food.”

The pantry, which students can access with their Florida Poly ID, was temporarily moved to the Student Development Center for the fall semester, but will be returning to its regular location at Academic Success Center East inside Residence Hall II this spring.

Companies interested in supporting Florida Poly can visit the Corporate Impact Network webpage to learn more.


Lydia Guzman
Director of Communications