A Tulsa college student using his voice to be a problem-solver in his community is being nationally recognized for his work.
Joseph Mason, a student at Tulsa Community College, helps with Fuel Pantry, a project run through the Community Food Bank. It's located in the student union but grew out of a classroom study of feed insecurity.
"Is there a need for that here at TCC? And, ultimately, yes," he explained.
They surveyed students, and many, they found, were skipping meals or skimping on food to make college work, so they opened the Fuel Pantry in November.
"The first couple of months, December and January, we had maybe two or three students who would come," Mason said.
Since then, it's really taken off.
The pantry has canned goods and peanut butter. They've added a fridge so now they can add some perishables. There are also personal hygiene items and snack items they call grab-and-go.
Mason is pretty modest about his contributions, but the work he's done there and at a community garden he helps manage, got him selected as a 2018 Newman Civic Fellow - one of only 12 in Oklahoma.
"Doing this or the community garden is just a way I can serve other people on a larger basis," he said.
The 26-year-old has a pretty solid grip on what's important in his community.
Mason is an Environmental Science major at TCC. He'll graduate in December and continue his education at OSU.