Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling received a significant donation of food from West Liberty University first year students. The donation was a result of a canned food drive that was part of the Freshman Olympic Games, held in October.

Food donation, with students.

From left: WLU Junior Shilling Rodocker, Jim Compston, Freshman Amber Rice and Bridgette Dawson prepare to pack the food donation for the Wheeling soup kitchen.

“Our First Year Experience class gets involved in a variety of competitive Olympic games every fall to promote teamwork, community service and leadership, plus to build friendships between our newest students. One of the events this year included a canned goods collection. We are thrilled that the collection resulted in 603 items of non-perishable foods,” said Bridgette Dawson, Director of the WLU Learning and Student Development Center.

“Riesbeck’s Food Markets was our title sponsor for last year’s First Year Experience activity and again generously agreed to serve as title sponsor of this year’s First Year Experience Freshman Olympics. Thanks to Riesbeck’s generosity, each Olympian received an event t-shirt designed by WLU’s graphic design student, Bryan Gassaway,” Dawson said. Gassaway is a senior from Follansbee, W.Va.

Becky Shilling-Rodocker ‘86, executive director of the soup kitchen was happy to accept the WLU gift of food.

“Our kitchens serve warm meals and offer a place to rest for thousands every year. This food means so much. We served approximately 120,000 meals last year and we rely on donations,” Shilling-Rodocker said. She was especially pleased with this year’s donation since her son Shilling is a WLU junior and her daughter Caitlin is a senior at WLU.

Shilling Rodocker accepted the donation on the Hilltop and transported the items to the soup kitchen.

“I work at the soup kitchen and I know just how much this means to people in the Wheeling area. We are always busy there and every item of food matters,” he said. Rodocker is a business major at WLU and has worked at the soup kitchen for five years.

Dawson was assisted in the Freshman Olympics by Area Coordinator for First Year Residential Experience Jim Compston, who designed the activities in the competition. Retention Specialist Amena Anderson also was a part of the WLU administrative team coordinating the effort.

West Liberty University is a forward-looking, four-year public university steeped in a rich heritage as West Virginia’s oldest institution of higher education. Led by President Robin C. Capehart, West Liberty is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. For more information on WLU, please visit www.westliberty.edu or call 1.866.WESTLIB.