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 ODAC’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) organized the conference-wide food drive as its first of two community service initiatives in 2019-20.
“The ODAC food drive is great because it allows for friendly competition among our institutions off the playing field, which in turn benefits each school’s local community,” said Erin Hauser, Assistant Athletics Director and SAAC Advisor at Randolph-Macon. “SAAC strives to encourage a sense of unity and common purpose between teams and among all student-athletes, and this initiative has really accomplished this by having all of our student-athletes buy in to support these local non-profits.”
The SAAC organized the food drive as a friendly competition among the ODAC's 15-member institutions, with a goal set to surpass the number of items collected last year. For the second straight year, Randolph-Macon led the charge with 4,268 total food items collected. Overall, the ODAC donated 19,776 food items to local organizations, which exceeded the 2018 collection amount by over 4,000 items.
“It’s hard to imagine families in our own community not having food around the holidays,” commented Jasmine Wilson, a women’s basketball student-athlete at Ferrum College and ODAC SAAC representative. “I am very appreciative and thankful that SAAC could help ease some of their worries.”
The SAAC will conduct its next conference-wide initiative as part of Division III Week, which is held April 13th-19th, 2020. 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 third 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 | FACES Food Pantry – Farmville, Va.
- Hollins University | Feeding America Southwest Virginia – Salem, Va.
- University of Lynchburg | Lynchburg Daily Bread and University of Lynchburg Campus Food Pantry– Lynchburg, Va.
- Randolph College | Blue Ridge Area Food Bank– Lynchburg, Va.
- Randolph-Macon College | Hanover Safe Place – Ashland, Va.
- Roanoke College | Feeding America Southwest Virginia – Salem, Va.
- Shenandoah University | Bright Futures – Winchester, Va.
- Virginia Wesleyan University | Virginia Wesleyan University Staff-In-Need and Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia – Norfolk, Va.
- Washington and Lee | Washington and Lee Campus Kitchen – Lexington, Va.