Wright State employees distribute food, collect donations as part of We Serve U Day

They just kept coming. Car after truck rolled into the warehouse of the Dayton Foodbank to pick up meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit and juice.

And 15 Wright State University employees swarmed each vehicle, loading it up for the needy and grateful residents.

It was all part of a July 19 university-wide service day opportunity for employees, who took a half-day off work to help the community without having to use leave time. All 75 volunteer slots for the first We Serve U Day were filled.

“The importance of service to the community is part of our university’s mission and is ingrained in our culture,” President Cheryl B. Schrader said in an email announcing We Serve U Day. “Time and again, you have stepped up to help your neighbors and those in need.”

We Serve U Day was organized by Joanie Hendricks, senior analyst in the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness; and Becky Traxler, executive assistant to the provost.

Wright State employees also volunteered at Hannah’s Treasure Chest, Goodwill Easter Seals Senior Adult Day Centers and collected items for Crayons to Classrooms and Raid Our Closet.

“I think it just demonstrates that Wright State really wants to be involved in the community, said Jennifer Lenos, a paralegal at Wright State Student Legal Services who volunteered. “We enjoy making a difference and making sure people know we’re out there and we’re willing to help when the need arises.”

Wright State volunteers distribute food at the Dayton Foodbank.

Jerry Hensley, an application systems administrator for Computing and Telecommunications, also helped collect donations for Crayons to Classrooms and Raid Our Closet, which will provide donated business apparel to Wright State students.

“I think servitude is a thread that runs through the Wright State fabric,” said Hensley.

Lora Davenport, advocacy and programs manager at the Foodbank who graduated from Wright State in 2012, helped oversee Wright State volunteers build packages of food to be distributed to seniors.

“It’s great that my alma mater is here to support the Foodbank and everything its mission is for – making sure nobody goes hungry at night,” she said.

Last year, 3,800 people volunteered at the Foodbank, which is among 12 in Ohio. It helps support 103 different agencies, in Montgomery, Greene and Preble counties.

Wright State volunteers prepare boxes of food at the Dayton Foodbank.

Wooden pallets bearing stacks of cardboard boxes filled with bottled water, cereal, pistachios and other items fill the Foodbank warehouse, on Dayton’s west side. Usually the Foodbank distributes items at the warehouse once a week, but it has been distributing every single weekday since Memorial Day because of damage wreaked by tornadoes.

On July 19, 209 vehicles passed through the warehouse. Many of them collected items for more than one family. It was not uncommon for a single vehicle to collect for as many as four families.

Cherylyn Lander, an academic adviser in the College of Education and Human Services, was one of the volunteers at the Foodbank. She said she was so excited when she learned the university was going to give employees time off to do service work.

“I wish we could do it more often,” she said. “We talk about the relationship and building our community around us. Those of us who work at Wright State care about people and we want to help improve peoples’ circumstances.”

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