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WOUB Supports Good Works Friday Night Life During Pandemic

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Employees raised funds to purchase meals for May 1 event

ATHENS, OH – When WOUB scheduled its sponsorship of the May 1 Good Works Friday Night Life event back in February, WOUB employees were excited to take part and help support those in need.

Good Works Friday Night Life Letter Announcing Partnership with WOUB“Good Works aims to create and sustain a community of hope with and for people who are struggling with poverty and homelessness in rural Appalachia,” said Good Works Office Manager Sherilyn Weinkauf. “The Friday Night Life community is a type of ‘congregation’ for Good Works. The people who participate are our friends, and providing food is an essential aspect of our community life.”

No one ever imagined that WOUB employees would not be able to volunteer at the event in person. Employees originally planned to cook a meal and share it with the approximately 150 people in need of food and camaraderie at the Good Works Luhrig Road dinner location. But then Coronavirus happened.

“The volunteer work was scheduled as part of WOUB’s Community Give Back program,” said WOUB Community Engagement Manager Cheri Russo.

During WOUB Public Radio’s Winter Pledge Drive, listeners came through for the station and the local community by committing WOUB employees to 44 hours of volunteer work in our region. WOUB offered listeners the opportunity to choose the “Community Give Back” gift option when they pledged $100 or more to WOUB. So instead of getting a ‘Thank You’ gift in the mail, each supporter chose to dedicate WOUB employees to two hours of volunteer community service for other nonprofits in the region.

“We were genuinely excited to be a part of Friday Night Life, a 28-year tradition in Athens, that truly helps and supports those who just need a place to turn,” said Russo. “We realized the value of sharing a meal and spending time together that this event provided for so many. So, when we learned that social distancing would prevent us from participating the way we intended, WOUB came up with plan B.”

Russo spoke to Good Works and learned they were no longer holding the sit-down dinner event, but still needed support providing food that could be easily distributed to those in need to take home. Russo sent out an email to WOUB employees explaining the situation and soliciting ideas from the staff on how WOUB could still support the event. Several staff members suggested asking WOUB employees to donate personal funds to purchase pre-made meals from a local restaurant and taking those meals to the event location to be picked up.

“WOUB employees were happy to contribute, and we raised more money than needed to purchase the meals,” said Russo. “So, we got some fresh fruit from the grocery store along with the sandwich meals we ordered from Brenen’s Coffee Café in Athens. I dropped them off to the folks at Good Works and donated the rest of the money that was raised from WOUB employees to Good Works to help support future Friday Night Life meals.”

Friday Night Life is dependent upon community groups ‘stepping up to the plate’ – pun intended – to sponsor the meal portion of the event each week,” said Weinkauf. “We are so very grateful to partner with WOUB to assist and bless our neighbors and friends who struggle with food insecurity. The social aspect of Friday Night Life has been very limited lately, but it is so essential. We are looking forward to reconnecting with everyone face to face as soon as we can.”