Standing With You Fellow Creates Campus Baby Item Pantry, On Track to Raise 10,000 Diapers THIS YEAR

by Stephanie Stone | March 20, 2024

GUEST POST by Amelia Akins

Did you know that in the first year of their life, a baby will use about 3,000 diapers? 

This is a huge financial burden on families with young children. Fulfilling this need helps mothers feel supported and loved as they raise their little ones. When I decided the focus for my Standing With You fellowship project, I knew I wanted to support moms on campus practically and tangibly. At Florida International University (FIU), many students are a few years out of high school and have already started their families. The university has an on-campus daycare service, which is offered to students for a discounted price.   

Though most students already receive financial aid, the costs of daycare, tuition, textbooks, gas, food, and baby supplies begin to add up. FIU has a long-established student pantry, which provides free food and toiletry items. I realized this is a great space to supply free baby items to students since they already visit and are familiar with it. I contacted the director of the student pantry. She thought it was a great idea, so I organized a collaborative donation drive to kick off the project.   

Along with three other student groups on campus, Students for Life at FIU hosted a successful and well-attended donation drive, collecting items like diapers, baby formula, wipes, bottles, and baby shampoo. We also educated students about pregnancy resource centers in the area that provide professional resources like ultrasounds and counseling.   

Baby Items in the school pantry

Following the event, I stocked the pantry with all the donations. To my surprise, the pantry was almost empty the following week, despite being filled with over 50 baby items. The need for baby supplies were greater than I anticipated, so I started to brainstorm new ways to keep the pantry stocked.   

I contacted local churches, pregnancy centers, and conservative organizations such as Leadership Institute. In the following months, I was blown away by the amount of support. To date, we have received over $2,300 in donations from students and community members. We are on track to hit 10,000 diapers provided to families on campus by the end of the semester. The pantry continues to grow in popularity, with dozens of students visiting each week for supplies. I am thrilled that my project has made a positive impact on parenting students’ lives.   

We received positive feedback from parents who utilize the pantry. One mom, who has an adorable three-month-old and a two-year-old, says the pantry has been very helpful. Since she stops by the pantry after class, she spends less time at the grocery store and more time with her baby.   

The Standing With You fellowship has made a major impact on my life. I now know that after graduation, I want to pursue a pro-life career. Over the year, I loved getting to know the other SWY fellows. During our biweekly calls, we all share updates and give ideas on how to improve projects. This has been a big encouragement, and I know I’ll have long-lasting friendships.  

Amelia and a group member collecting materials for the pantry

Though I have completed my project, my pro-life activism is far from over. I plan to act as the president of my Students for Life chapter next year and grow our group. I will continue to stock our baby supply pantry and find new ways to support mothers on campus, and I will continue to encourage women to choose life.   

I am so grateful for the many opportunities Students for Life and the National Leaders Collective have given me in the past year. I am excited to continue to grow as a pro-life leader and continue my work in supporting women to choose life!