Making a Difference in Our Community: Pooky’s Pantry

As today, Tuesday, April 25, 2017, marks World Penguin Day, it’s the perfect time to celebrate our own resident flightless bird, Pooky.

The namesake behind Pooky’s Pantry and mascot for Valencia Volunteers, this peculiar penguin has much more to celebrate than just his uncanny ability to thrive in warm weather (which really is an accomplishment itself).

Pooky, who was “born” in 2012 on West Campus, and his fellow Valencia volunteers on all five Valencia campuses are behind significant community impact.

Through Pooky’s Pantry, Valencians collect, store and distribute non-perishable food items to students in need.

“We have many students who do not have the resources to support themselves, and Pooky’s Pantry helps to at least provide those students with food to eat,” said Amy Pagano, student development program advisor.

Amy explains that, in Florida alone, there are more than 3 million people who are affected by food insecurity. Through Pooky’s Pantry, Valencia students and employees can join together to help our students in need — positively affecting both their personal life and academic performance.

“Research from the American Psychological Association has shown that depression, anxiety and withdrawal can all be harmful results from hunger, which could interfere with learning and education,” Amy said. “Students who don’t have enough to eat may be distracted, tired or even more susceptible to physical illness.”

If you want to join in the efforts behind Pooky’s Pantry, you’re encouraged to donate food items. You can find donations bins at Valencia campus’ respective Offices of Student Development. You’ll also find more information in The Grove throughout the year on Pooky’s Pantry food drives.

Throughout Valencia’s 50th anniversary year, to celebrate the College’s service to our community, we will feature stories of Valencia’s community impact and the volunteer efforts of our colleagues. Whether you volunteer as a board member of a foundation or you serve meals to the homeless, we want to hear about it because every act of kindness is worth celebrating. To submit a Valencia volunteer story, simply email the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your photo (preferably of you volunteering)
  • Where you volunteer and a description of the organization
  • How long you have volunteered with that organization
  • Why you choose to volunteer with that organization
  • What you enjoy most about volunteering with that organization


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