High school senior Karsen Ochs, a pitcher for the First Presbyterian Day School softball team, is using her athletic talent on the field to give back to the community.
‘Strike Out For Hunger With Karsen Ochs’ is a fundraising campaign where people can either make a flat donation or pledge to donate a certain amount of money per strikeout Ochs makes. At the end of each season, Ochs collects all the pledges and takes them to the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank.
Over the past three years, Ochs has raised $14,908, which has provided over 74,540 meals to those in need, according to the food bank.
Ochs, a Macon native, has been playing softball since she was 7 years old. She began the Strike Out for Hunger campaign in 2015 during her freshman year at FPD.
“I decided that I needed to find a better way for me to impact my community while using my talent that God blessed me with,” Ochs said.
Ochs said she choose to focus on food insecurity because it is an issue she cared about deeply.
“I have a heart for people, and one of my best friends was going through a tough time dealing with anorexia,” Ochs said. “So I felt called to help those who were not as blessed on the nutritional side, especially in Middle Georgia.”
David Griffin, executive director at the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank, has worked with Ochs in her journey to decrease hunger in Macon.
“I was just amazed at the number of strikeouts she got, and her sense of duty and understanding of what’s going on in the community,” Griffin said.
About 20 to 25 percent of people in Macon don’t get the daily nutrition or food that they need, according to the food bank. The organization is able to produce five meals for just $1.
“I’ve learned that a little help goes a long way,” Ochs said. “It’s awesome to understand that anything helps. There’s no such thing as too little support or too little money.”
Ochs is committed to play softball for the University of South Carolina, where she plans to study public relations with a concentration in journalism and a minor in psychology. Her journey with Strike Out for Hunger will end when she graduates in 2019.
“I’m hoping to pass it on to someone else in the community, maybe another softball player or baseball player,” she said. “I hope someone follows in my footsteps.”
Griffin encouraged other students to find inspiration to help those in need.
“Karsen has shown such an amazing ability to be a community leader,” he said. “It’s important for young people to get involved in any way they can.”
To find out more about Strike Out for Hunger and stay updated, visit Karsen’s Facebook page.