FOREST, Va. --- The Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) united during the fall semester to help local organizations by conducting food drives on the campuses of each member institution. The conference’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) organized the conference-wide food drive as their first of two community service initiatives in 2018-19.
“This is our third conference-wide initiative in the past two years and was not only our most successful, but in my opinion our most important one as well," said Maddie Burns, a women's soccer student-athlete at Randolph-Macon College and the Division III SAAC representative for the ODAC. "We decided to have a food drive because we felt it allowed institutions to collect donations from parents, peers, and colleagues all with the same goal – to better our local communities.”
The SAAC organized the food drive as a friendly competition among the ODAC's 15 member institutions, with Burns noting that "the ODAC is an incredibly competitive conference and it's awesome that we can use that competitive spirit to come together to benefit our communities." All food items will be donated to a local organization of each school's choice. With a total of 6,309 food items, Randolph-Macon College spearheaded the conference collection efforts.
Overall, the ODAC collected 15,520 items and raised over $500.
“Our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee continues to embrace initiatives where they give back to the community,” commented ODAC Commissioner Brad Bankston. “These student-athletes are great ambassadors for their institutions as well as the ODAC. Their excitement about making an impact away from the playing field reflects their desire to leave a lasting legacy as ODAC student-athletes.”
The SAAC will conduct their next conference-wide initiative as part of Division III Week, which is held April 1-7, 2019. The ODAC will partner with Water Mission, a non-profit clean water charity that builds sustainable clean water solutions in developing countries and disaster areas. Each institution will raise funds to help bring safe water to hundreds of men, women, and children in Puerto Rico. This marks the second straight year the ODAC will work with Water Mission.
The local organizations where the ODAC institutions donated their collections are listed below:
Bridgewater College | Blue Ridge Area Food Bank – Verona, Va.
Eastern Mennonite University | Blue Ridge Area Food Bank – Verona, Va.
Emory & Henry College | Loaves & Fishes Food Bank- Chilhowie, Va.
Ferrum College | St. James Community Center – Ferrum, Va.
Guilford College | Second Harvest Food Bank of NW North Carolina – Winston-Salem, N.C.
Hampden-Sydney College | FACE Food Pantry – Farmville, Va.
Hollins University | Feeding America Southwest Virginia – Salem, Va.
University of Lynchburg | Rivermont Area Emergency Food Pantry – Lynchburg, Va.
Randolph College | Park View Community Mission – Lynchburg, Va.
Randolph-Macon College | Hanover Safe Place – Ashland, Va.
Roanoke College | Feeding America Southwest Virginia – Salem, Va.
Shenandoah University | Bright Futures – Winchester, Va.
Sweet Briar College | Amherst Cares – Amherst, Va.
Virginia Wesleyan University | Union Mission Ministries – Norfolk, Va.