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Wheeling Soup Kitchen benefits from West Liberty student service

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First-year students at West Liberty University have provided a timely boost to the Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling this month.

Students made a significant canned food donation as a result of an October food drive that took place in conjunction with the Freshman Olympic Games.

"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," Bridgette Dawson, director of the WLU Learning and Student Development Center, said in a news release. "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."

Local grocery store chain Riesbeck's Food Markets was the title sponsor for last year's First Year Experience activity and agreed to serve in that capacity again.

"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.

Becky Shilling-Rodocker, executive director of the soup kitchen, said last year they served about 120,000 meals and the kitchen relies on donations. The project mean a lot to her, not only because she sees how much the food helps the community, but also because her son, Shilling, is a WLU junior and her daughter, Caitlin, is a senior at WLU.