With nets on their hair and smiles on their faces, members of the Wheeling Park High School girls' volleyball team volunteered their time Wednesday to help the children of Wheeling.
They worked at the Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling serving food, distributing school supplies and playing with children in the soup kitchen's "Just For Kids" program, which happens every Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. The team separated into groups to take on each task, some going to the kitchen while others attended to paperwork and still others distributed food and supplies.
Soup kitchen staff members were happy to have the team on hand. More than 200 children were expected to receive free food and school supplies provided by the "Cory's Kidz" program. In honor of Cory Kalisz, a young Wheeling native who died in 2006, the "Cory's Kidz" seeks to take care of children who grow up eating at the soup kitchen.
Photos by Daniel Dorsch
Donning hair nets and gloves, from left, Wheeling Park volleyball players Kadie Stanford, Sydnie Stewart, coach J.T. Greer, June Braunlich, Stephanie Courts, helper Cole Greer and Jordan Porter prepare food at the Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling on Wednesday.
Community members provided the school bags, lunch boxes and other academic supplies distributed Wednesday. And soup kitchen Executive Director Becky Schilling- Rodocker said she was happy to see the community "coming together to help others."
"We want to give back to the community," said Eric Fowler, Patriots junior varsity coach. "The community has given so much to Wheeling Park."
Patriots varsity coach J.T. Greer agreed.
"It's a great way to give back," he said, noting that volunteer community service in high school is a great way to prepare for college, since it gives students a chance to see how diverse the world really is.
"It's also a great tool for scholarships," he added, citing the importance of community service on a student's record while pursuing higher education.
Regarding how his team felt about the event, he said, "You can see by the looks in their faces that they're excited."
The coach was right. His players said they were delighted and proud to help.
"I think it's great," said team member Keleigh Sidon. "We can help out the community."
Wednesday was the first time the team had helped out at the soup kitchen, and members were aware of the significance.
"I'm excited," said player June Braunlich. "This is a good way to set an example."
Stacy Greer, teacher for Ohio County schools and wife of coach Greer, was largely responsible for the arrangement, having worked at the soup kitchen before with her special education students. Stacy Greer expressed the school's interest in helping students find community service opportunities.
"Sometimes kids want to volunteer, but they don't know where," she said.
The efforts of the teachers appeared to already be paying off, as demonstrated by team member Cierra Conley, who enjoyed the experience so much she said, "After today we might come back independently."
The Wheeling Park High School girls' volleyball team will also be holding a free car wash at Credential Bank on Aug. 18th at 1 p.m.