Mary Oyewole, a doctoral candidate at Texas Tech University, goes above and beyond to help others in need. In the summer of 2021, Raider Red’s Food Pantry was in dire need of help due to the COVID-19 pandemic and being short-staffed. Thankfully, Mary came into the picture wanting to lend a helping hand.
Mary is no stranger to the struggles of food insecurity. Mary was grateful to have Raider Red’s Food Pantry there to support her in times of need. Therefore, she knew she wanted to give back to the resource that had helped her in the past.
More than anything, Mary wants to help out her fellow peers to the best of her ability. “Serving her fellow peers at TTU is a passion of Mary’s, and that is evident in her dedication and reliability as a pantry staffer,” said Amy Prause, a supervisor at the Raider Red’s Food Pantry. Mary always went the extra mile and did more than what was asked of her as a pantry staffer.
For instance, Mary created recipes to teach her fellow peers how to utilize the fresh produce the Raider Red’s Food Pantry acquires from the local Grub Farm. She was always, “full of ideas of how to advance and grow the pantry across campus to reach more students, while also pushing the de-stigmatization that comes with food and/or financial insecurity,” said Prause.
Mary made more of an impact than she ever realized. Prause believes that “Without Mary as a volunteer over the course of [the] summer, there would have been times where students at TTU would have gone hungry because of limited operational hours. Mary’s service has been instrumental in ensuring that TTU students are fed and healthy in a tumultuous “post”-pandemic time.”
Mary’s desire to volunteer with Raider Red’s Food Pantry is truly inspirational. She has done spectacular work to ensure people have the knowledge they need to make their lives better. Mary even started a nonprofit organization in her home country of Nigeria to help people with food insecurity.
Wherever Mary is, she wants to ensure the people around her are happy by providing them with a resource necessary to make their everyday dreams come true. Above all else, Mary loves making people smile and believes that, “when you meet a need, you bring a smile to a face.”
Mary encourages everyone to contribute to making the world a better place, and it could even be as simple as donating food. “If you have a lot of food in your pantry, or you buy a lot of things and they are about to go bad, you should have it in mind to donate. A lot of people, like college students, do have food insecurity,” said Mary.
The Volunteer Center of Lubbock is grateful our community has individuals like Mary who work hard to bring a smile to strangers’ faces. The Volunteer Center thanks Mary for her hard work in providing those in need with food and spreading awareness about the issue of food insecurity.
At our 25th Annual Cornucopia Luncheon, we had the honor of recognizing Mary Oyewole as a ‘Get Involved’ Award recipient. The Volunteer Center of Lubbock hopes that Mary’s story inspires others to get involved also. You can learn more about how to give back through our ‘Get Connected’ Page found on our website.