PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, OH – For many families struggling financially, the holidays can often serve as a difficult time to view life with a positive outlook. Twenty-eight Owens Community College Express men’s baseball student-athletes and coaches recently spent a Saturday morning making sure hundreds of Northwest Ohio needy families look forward to the upcoming holiday season with optimism by lending a helping hand at the Toledo Seagate Food Bank.
The team traded their baseball gloves for work gloves and proceeded to sort and stuff hundreds of brown boxes with thousands of donated food items for eventual delivery to needy families and individuals in 18 counties and at over 400 non-profit organizations throughout Northwest Ohio. The initiative was part of the Toledo Seagate Food Bank’s annual holiday donation drive titled “Stuff the Truck”.
According to Express sophomore infielder Austin Ritson of Toledo (Whitmer High School graduate), its feels good to be able to give back to those individuals faced with hardship. “I am very thankful for everything that has been provided for me and it seems only right to want to help others and make a difference in their lives,” explained Ritson.
“There are many people throughout Northwest Ohio who are without food on a daily basis,” stated Bob Schultz, Owens Head Coach of the men’s baseball program and a long-time Toledo Seagate Food Bank volunteer. “The Owens Community College Express baseball team is proud to help the Toledo Seagate Food Bank in its efforts to fight hunger and make a difference in the lives of those in need.”
On the baseball field this past year, the Express finished with a 35-9 overall record and captured its sixth Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (16-4 record) title in the program’s history. Additionally, the 16 victories in conference was a school record for most wins in a season, surpassing the previous mark of 15 in 2001.
However, the victories and records pale in comparison to the hundreds of lives affected as a result of the team’s volunteerism, according to Toledo Seagate Food Bank Executive Director Deborah Vas. “Volunteerism is really one of our staples at the Toledo Seagate Food Bank. Our organization could not survive without volunteers,” she explained.
Vas added, “The Toledo Seagate Food Bank is extremely grateful to the Owens Community College baseball team. The help they provided today would have taken three weeks to accomplish. Their volunteer efforts are much appreciated.”
The Toledo Seagate Food Bank was established in 1982 as a regional food clearing house serving 18 Northwest Ohio counties. The Food Bank collects donated food from manufacturers, processors, wholesale and retail grocers, and individuals, as it becomes available. Annually, the organization distributes over 15 million pounds of food to over 500 organizational programs, such food pantries, community resource centers, churches, soup kitchens and senior centers, among other agencies. Since its founding, the Food Bank has assisted over 21,000 individuals and needy families.
Owens Community College is one of the fastest-growing higher educational institutions in Ohio. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 45,000 credit and non-credit students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers associate degrees that transfer to baccalaureate degrees in the Arts and Sciences and over 130 technical program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health Sciences, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Skilled Trades, and Engineering and Transportation Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor’s degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university. For more information, visit www.owens.edu.