Delegates deluge Daily Bread with donations

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Heather Bell and Bob Thomas

RADFORD – Radford Fairlawn Daily Bread benefited through donations of more than 2000 canned goods, paper supplies and other items from delegates to American Legion’s Boys State program, recently hosted by Radford University.

Photos by Bob Thomas
Boys State delegate Evan Wonsett, of Pulaski, makes his contribution to the Radford Fairlawn Daily Bread food drive, part of the recent week-long Boys State program held at Radford University.

Radford University welcomed more than 760 young men from across the Commonwealth to campus on June 16 for the 77th session of The American Legion Boys State of Virginia, a week-long leadership program for rising high school seniors. Participants are chosen based on academic, leadership, civic and citizenship excellence are sponsored by their local American Legion posts.

As part of the annual program, Boys State delegates are encouraged to participate in a special community service project. Radford Fairlawn Daily Bread (RFDB) is the benefactor of that outreach effort. RFDB, a volunteer organization providing free meals to those in need weekdays at its kitchen-dining room location, plus Meals on Wheels to those who are home bound, has worked with Boys State for several years.

As bus loads and family cars arrived Sunday afternoon, volunteers from RFDB gathered to accept donations of everything from canned beans and peaches to paper products and cleaning supplies. The final total was close to 3000 items, approximately one-third of a year’s needs, according to RFDB program manager Dora Butler.

“It is a major contribution to our mission,” Butler said.

Virginia Boys State provides the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in one of three areas of government. Participants cultivate leadership skills and develop pride in American citizenship. Citizens learn the political process through the election process for the offices of a mythical 51st state. Each delegate is assigned to a political party which has no philosophy or platform until the delegates develop one. Speakers from all levels of actual Virginia government provide valuable lessons for the delegates.

Denise Mathews, a Radford Fairlawn Daily Bread volunteer, places canned good on shelves at the organization’s headquarters following the plentiful donations from Boys State delegates.

Boys State 2019 delegates were welcomed to campus by Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.

“The American Legion Boys State is a respected educational program, and many of our country’s leaders participated in Boys State,” Hemphill said. The program teaches the value of civic duty, as well as public service. You will have the opportunity to focus on your individual interests, build friendships that will truly last a lifetime and meet many of Virginia’s government leaders, as well as business leaders. I say to each of you, with The American Legion’s leadership and Radford University’s support this year, you are the next generation that will ignite the dynamic passion that will propel our great country to new heights.”