LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Jason Reddock is the textbook definition of the broke college student. At 30 years old he has abandoned his job as a welder tobetter himself andget a degree. But it isn't easy.

The struggle to pay tuition, the struggle to pay bills - it's hard, he said.

Census Bureau numbers show 51.8% of college students living off campus and not with relatives live below the poverty line. 79% of all college students work in addition to taking classes.

Reddockhas a heart for those struggling, so in addition to his studies, he writes stories for the local food bank newsletter about the people who use it. He believes humanizing the marginalized in our society will empower them, and give them a voice. He says the people he interviews at Lakewood's FISHFood Bank are not your stereotypical poor.Need at the facility is up 136% since 2008, according tofood bank spokeswoman Emily Happy.That's 97,000 visits per year at one Lakewoodlocation alone.

These are average everyday people trying to make ends meet and maintain their families, said Reddock.

In telling the stories of the less fortunate, Reddockhas come to learn that their stories arehis story. He, too, is aclientat theFISHFood Bank.

It takes a lot of thepressure off, knowing I can get a week of food and not have to worry about where I'm going to eat, he said.

Without the generosity of his Pierce County neighbors, Reddock wouldn't be getting his degree.

Nobody gets anywhere in life without a little help, he said. Everybody falls on tough times and everybody needs a helping hand.

KING 5 is collecting contributions for Washington's food banks this Saturday in the annual Hometeam Harvest event. You can donate cashat any USBank branch, purchase a bag of groceries at Safeway, or text hometeam to 8-5-9-4-4 to make a $10 donation.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/outreach/2014/08/05/13359660/