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UF/IFAS CALS students join in hurricane relief efforts

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – This year’s hurricane season has left Florida, Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and many other states and countries with severe damage. However, the aftermath of these storms has led students within the University of Florida IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) to create hurricane relief opportunities to help those in need.

When Amonté Martin, a forest resources and conservation Ph.D. student in CALS, saw the devastation of Hurricane Harvey on the news, he immediately knew he needed to do something to help. Soon after, Florida was hit by Hurricane Irma.

Martin partnered with CALS to collect non-perishable food items and toiletries to send to Florida and Texas residents. The 28-year-old had previously started a campus-wide collection of water for Flint, Michigan residents with a friend while attending Purdue for their master’s degrees.

“As I’m sitting in the comfort of my own home with my son and watching other fathers save their children from the floods, something was just tugging on my heart that I had to do something,” Martin said. “I wanted to create an avenue for others to give and who were feeling the need to help, just like me.”

Martin has teamed up with UF Collegiate Farm Bureau’s efforts to collect club T-shirts to share with an adopted FFA chapter in Beaumont, Texas affected by flooding. Donations of non-perishable food items, toiletries, CALS club T-shirts and spare change are accepted through Oct. 31 at 2020 McCarty Hall D. A portion of these donations will be available to the Gator community in the Alan and Cathy Hitchcock Field & Fork Pantry.

In addition to this donation drive, the Agronomy Graduate Student Association has organized an effort to collect solar-powered cell phones, lanterns and flash lights for the staff of the University of the Virgin Islands Agricultural Experiment Station, on St. Croix. Those interested in joining this effort are welcome to view and donate to the Amazon wish list.

“Amonté, Collegiate Farm Bureau members and Agronomy Graduate Student Association members exemplify our college’s core values of collaboration and service,” said Charlotte Emerson, UF/IFAS CALS director of student development and recruitment. “The college is proud to support these students in their efforts to assist others in need of resources.”


The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) administers the degree programs of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). The mission of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is to deliver unsurpassed educational programs that prepare students to address the world’s critical challenges related to agriculture, food systems, human wellbeing, natural resources and sustainable communities. Visit the CALS website at, and follow CALS on social media platforms at @ufcals.