AMES, Iowa -- The Story Theater Company in Ames is giving back to its community.
Instead of charging money for tickets to upcoming shows, kids are asking for food and clothing donations. NBC's Kerry Sanders visited the community to find out more about the generous decision.
"It's really nice," said actor Emma Camara. "I think it's a really good way, because people are coming to the show, they'll bring things, and it will help a lot of people out."
After the final curtain call, the "profits" are sorted, organized, and packed up. Among those with passion on stage to make the donations happen off stage is 16-year-old actor Josh Gartin.
"I mean, you gotta share the love, so if we've been given a lot of love, what can we do but give love to other people? And that's really where the heart of this is," he said.
The theater company enlists the entire town to put on productions. Macky Repair shared equipment to help build the sets, and the nondescript warehouse turned theater, like the lights and props, was paid for with donations.
Travis Cooper, another actor, said it's only natural to now want to pay it forward, saying he will still get something out of the experience even if he does not go on to become a professional actor.
"Just the feeling of helping people is just a great feeling to have," he said.
Some of the food gathered is donated to Food at First. Among the 75 people a night who utilize the pantry is 24-year-old Abby Lee.
"Some people can't afford food. And to see that young kids actually see that, it's pretty amazing," she said.
"It's a really simple lesson. When you're generous it causes other people to be generous, and so be the one to start," suggested Gartin.
The theater's next production is Beauty and the Beast Junior, which will premier in June.