News Release

News and Public Information Office
Glos Center
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio 45056
(513) 529-7592
(513) 529-1950 fax

"A moment with ... David Sobecki"


David Sobecki rests after hauling 4,405 pounds of donated food.
"A moment with ..." is a Q-and-A column featuring Miami employees.

Today, take “A moment with ... David Sobecki," who knows the value of 4,405 pounds of food. In fact, the associate professor of mathematics at Miami University Hamilton adds up the numbers each year as he leads campus food drives at the end of each semester.

Q: How long have you been conducting the food drive?
A: In my first or second year at Miami Hamilton (1997 or 1998), a student group conducted a holiday food drive on campus, and I came up with the idea of offering a small amount of extra credit in exchange for my students donating food. I dumped the proceeds in a bin and moved on. The following year, I was disappointed to not see the barrels out, so I decided to ask my students for food anyhow, and just drove the proceeds to the local food bank, which turned out to be Shared Harvest. Then in the spring, it hit me like a ton of bricks: Hungry people need to eat year-round, not just during the holidays.

Q: So, that’s how you started collecting at the end of fall and spring semesters?
A: I collected food at the end of that spring semester, and drove it up the street to Open Door Food Pantry. The next step was asking other instructors to participate as well, and setting up bins around campus. In the early days, I'd scrounge boxes from the recycling dumpster in Mosler Hall, load everything into my Explorer and drive it over. When I got to the point of making three trips, I decided to ask the food organizations to send a truck – then things really took off.

Q: How much food has the campus donated over the years?
A: I remember at one time thinking how amazing it would be to gather a ton of food, and that became my goal. I can actually remember where I was when I got the call from Shared Harvest in December 2007 telling me we'd gone over 2,000 pounds. That seemed like such an impossible goal at one time. I started keeping records in December 2004. Since then, MUH has donated 36,258 pounds of food, and $5,304.

Q: When did you become involved as a board member with the food pantry and why?
A: After I had been running the drive donating proceeds to Shared Harvest for several years, there was an opening on the board of directors, and Tina Osso (executive director) asked me to join.

Q: What are some of the needs of the food pantry?
A: Everything. Food, money, volunteers, more space, upgraded facilities, awareness of and education on the hunger problem in our area are the handful of needs that come to mind.

Q: How have you seen those needs change over the years?
A: The economic downturn is a double-edged sword for food relief organizations: more families needing assistance, and less people with the resources to donate. Those of us that are fortunate enough to be able to help out have a greater obligation than ever to show gratitude for our good fortune by helping those that can't help themselves. Shared Harvest's unofficial motto says it all: Hunger is not a choice; giving is.

Related Media

Photos Photos  
Boxes of food ready for transport.


© 2012 | Miami University | 501 East High Street | Oxford, Ohio 45056 | 513.529.1809 | Equal opportunity in education and employment | Privacy Statement