April Arbogast, one of the founders of Flash's Food Pantry, set to graduate from Kent State Stark | Kent State University
April Arbogast, one of the founders of Flash’s Food Pantry, is set to graduate from Kent State Stark on December 15.
April Arbogast, one of the founders of Flash’s Food Pantry, set to graduate from Kent State Stark.

April Arbogast, one of the founders of Flash's Food Pantry, set to graduate from Kent State Stark

April Arbogast discovered her purpose

April Arbogast found a way to give back at Kent State University at Stark, and that was all she ever wanted: to make a difference.

As one of the founders of Flash’s Food Pantry, Arbogast initiated a mainstay that has been visited more than 1,000 times since its inception in 2015.

On Friday, she’ll receive her bachelor’s degree as part of Kent State Stark’s largest fall graduation ceremony. 

“I don’t want it to end,” said Arbogast, 22. “I just fell in love with our campus and how I was able to get involved so much. I wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world.”

Arbogast considered larger colleges. Still, others asked if she would eventually transfer. But Arbogast said she found her best fit on the Stark Campus. She’d sacrifice 90 minutes out of her day to commute from her Portage County home in Randolph. 

An applied communication major, she’s ready to take part in Kent State Stark’s record-setting commencement with nearly 200 students graduating with bachelor’s degrees and approximately 30 with associate degrees.

‘A GIVING HEART’

At least 400 American colleges and universities, mostly public institutions, operate food pantries today.

Recognizing this trend, Arbogast, along with Kent State Stark’s Undergraduate Student Government, created Flash’s Food Pantry. 

“Since opening the pantry, we have learned a lot about the needs of our campus community,” Arbogast said. 

What she discovered was this: when given the choice between buying essentials such as gas, food, textbooks or even personal hygiene products, food has often taken a back seat for struggling students across the United States. 

“My parents (Sandi and Dennis Arbogast) have taught me Christian values and inspired me to give back,” she said. “My mom, especially, has such a giving heart and she just inspires you to help people whenever you can.”

One day, Arbogast plans on starting her own non-profit.

“The process of watching April discover her purpose here at Kent State University at Stark has been a gratifying experience,” said Ashley Brightbill, manager of the Office of Student Involvement. “April’s success is a strong reflection of her work ethic, compassion for others and her passion to engage in new opportunities that make her unique.” 

Arbogast said it seems like yesterday she was graduating from Waterloo High School. “But, I’ve found my happiness,” she said. “I find my happiness through helping others and knowing that I’m really making a difference. That’s my life goal: to make a positive change in the lives of others.”

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ABOUT FLASH’S FOOD PANTRY

Flash’s Food Pantry, a non-profit, is an extension of Kent State University at Stark’s Interfaith Campus Ministry. Guests are welcome to visit the pantry once a week and take up to 12 food and hygiene products. 

Educational opportunities about local resources and food insecurity in Stark County are available to visitors. Food insecurity refers to the USDA’s measure of lack of regular access to nutritional food for an active and healthy life. The food insecurity rate in Stark County is 15.2 percent of the population; the child food insecurity rate is 23.6 percent, according to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, a partner of Flash’s Food Pantry. 

For more information on Flash’s Food Pantry, or to donate funds, nonperishable food items or personal hygiene products, contact Kent State Stark’s Undergraduate Student Government at KSUStarkUSG@kent.edu or Ashley Brightbill, manager of the Office of Student Involvement, at 330-244-5041 or abright6@kent.edu
 

POSTED: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 3:21pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 4:33pm
WRITTEN BY:
Melissa Griffy Seeton