Ashley loves a good competition — especially when it’s tied to helping neighbors in need. Since she began her job at a Muskegon Save-A-Lot four years ago, she’s looked forward to the store’s yearly “Bags for a Brighter Holiday” food drive, when staff encourage shoppers to purchase bags full of groceries for donation to Feeding America West Michigan. In turn, the food bank ensures they end up in the hands of neighbors in need.
Each year, Ashley competes with her fellow staff members to see who can encourage the most patrons to purchase bags. In 2020, her team donated nearly 100 bags to the food bank.
It’s not just during the holidays that Ashley, now a store manager, gives back. She’s always quick to help a neighbor in need.
When she started her job, one of her tasks was to take out the trash.
“One night I went out there and a man jumped out of the garbage. He said he just wanted some meat and that he was hungry.”
She told him what he was doing was dangerous, but if he came around to the front of the store, she’d buy him some snacks.
“I realized that he was so hungry that he was out there in the dark and cold,” she said. “Hunger is really real.”
Ashley’s passion for giving back stems in part from her own experience.
“We didn’t always have a lot. Growing up, I saw my mother go through it. I remember many times going through a food bank and that was all we had.”
“I’m now in a position where I don’t have to go through that and I can afford to feed my children.”
She’s teaching her four kids to give back, too. They are just as quick to help as their mom is — “they’re always giving away stuff,” Ashley said.
“I know I’m going to get it back later on some way. As I continue to bless others, I’ll get it back.”