Polk State Pantry: A Helping Hand For Students Who Need Food And More

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

Imagine a room full of your favorite snacks. The Polk State Pantry is that, and so much more.

The Lakeland Campus pantry will open Tuesday, Jan. 16, in LLC 2155A to provide food to students in need – from snacks and microwavable lunches between classes, to canned goods and nonperishable items they can take home to stock their own pantries.

The pantry will also provide personal hygiene items, as well as information on social services and other resources.

Housed in a space behind the Teaching Learning Computing Center (TLCC), the pantry will offer confidential, discreet services to students in a comfortable, accessible setting.

“We want to meet these tremendously important needs for our students,” said TLCC Testing and Tutoring Manager Kim DeRonda, who is leading the effort. “We want to serve students right now, in the moment, with what they need to make their days easier.”

The Lakeland Campus has been home to food pantries in the past. And at the Winter Haven Campus, students can receive similar services through My Brother’s Keeper, a nonprofit organization and service-learning project. My Brother’s Keeper is located in WHC 144B and is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“We want to serve students right now, in the moment, with what they need to make their days easier,” DeRonda said.

The Polk State Pantry has partnered with service-learning project kidsPACK, the Student Government Association, and other organizations to make the new pantry possible.

“This is a campus-wide effort,” DeRonda said. “We have had a great response from students, faculty, and staff who want to volunteer, as well as donate items to stock the pantry.”

Provost Steve Hull commended everyone involved for identifying a student need and implementing a way to meet it.

“This truly is a student-driven initiative made possible by the support of our staff,” Hull said. “We hope to take care of some of the food insecurities and other needs our students have.”

Students will be able to fill up provided Polk State bags with the food they need – no questions asked.

The pantry will open with a staff of nine volunteers. Hours may change depending on the number of volunteers and student usage of the pantry.

Polk State Pantry

TLCC Testing and Tutoring Manager Kim DeRonda stocks the shelves of the Polk State Pantry, which will open Tuesday, Jan. 16, on the Lakeland Campus.

To sign up to volunteer, faculty and staff should contact DeRonda at kderonda@polk.edu. Donations to the pantry can be dropped off at the TLCC during normal business hours. And monetary donations can be made through the Cash Management Department to the Polk State Pantry.

Pantry hours will be as follows.

Monday | 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. | 12 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday | 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. | 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday | 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. | 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Thursday | 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. | 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.