(STILLWATER, Okla., Feb. 28, 2018) – Students buy meal plans at Oklahoma State University each semester. When the semester ends, only a portion of the plan rolls over. Some students are OK with losing the money, but Michael Ash was different. He decided to help the community he lives in.
"My family did a lot of community service with the Salvation Army and the Boy Scouts of America food drives while I was growing up," Ash said. "I've always been exposed to people in need, and I enjoy giving."
Ash knew the money on his meal plan would go to waste if he chose not to use it. He called Our Daily Bread, asked what they needed most and then went to Twenty Something, a campus convenience store, and spent over $200 on food to give to the charity.
"They told me people had brought in a variety of things, and they just needed anything I could bring," Ash said. "So I went in and bought some personal care items like toothpaste and shampoo. I just walked through the aisles and started grabbing stuff. You name it, I was grabbing it."
This was the second time Ash had donated to a charity in Stillwater.
"The purpose in life is to find your gift, and the goal in life is to give it away," Ash said. "In that aspect I related it back to money. What's the point of having it if it's not being given to someone in need?"
Becky Taylor, executive director of Our Daily Bread in Stillwater, said the charity serves about 1,000 households a month, and the way Ash decided to give was exciting for everyone involved.
"He creatively utilized his meal plan, which was really exciting, kind-hearted, and just an ingenious way to give back to his community," Taylor said. "I would love to see more students doing what he did."
She said there are many opportunities for OSU students to get involved with Our Daily Bread.
"Students can volunteer, and we have many that do on a regular basis," Taylor said. "They can donate food just like our friend did using the remainder of his meal plan. They can also utilize Our Daily Bread and receive food assistance if they fall below the income guidelines and find themselves in need of food."'
The goal of Our Daily Bread is to fight hunger in Payne County. Taylor said it is important to provide families with groceries and meet the immediate need of hunger. Our Daily Bread also hopes to offer resources that will assist in lifting a family out of the cycle of poverty and to a place where they may no longer need food assistance. Since opening, the charity has served over 5,000 households in Payne County.
"On a daily basis we receive food, sort through it, stock shelves, help families get groceries, and everything in between," Taylor said. "We need around twenty volunteers daily, if not more. Our guests range from kids, to teen moms, to working single families, college students, retired folks, veterans, foster care families and more. There is a place for everyone at Our Daily Bread, whether it is someone who needs food assistance or someone who wants to be an active part of fighting hunger in his or her community."
Written by Shayla Terrel
Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. OSU has more than 36,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 25,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 120 nations. Established in 1890, Oklahoma State has graduated more than 260,000 students who have been serving Oklahoma and the world for 125 years.