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Wiley College students head up food drive

By Joe Holloway
Nov. 16, 2012 at 11 p.m.

MARSHALL - When Michael Champion asked students in his criminal justice class if any of them would be interested in helping with Wiley College's annual fall food drive, the professor got more than he anticipated.

Two students, junior criminal justice majors Roshondra Wilson and Amy Charles, decided Wiley's normal food drive wouldn't cut it anymore.

"I told them what I wanted initially, and they said 'you're thinking too small,'" Champion said. "This is something we've done on a number of occasions before, but on a smaller scale."

Wilson and Charles put together the Fill the Bus Food Drive, where students, organizations and local companies were encouraged to bring packaged food to fill up the Wiley College charter bus parked in the lot behind Wiley's Pemberton Heritage Center on Friday afternoon.

"They usually put out a box at a high school or something," Wilson said. "But I've been in 4-H and leadership programs all my life, and we've done food drives. I decided that, since it was college, it needed to be bigger, and it needed to have a bigger impact instead of just a few boxes."

By the time the drive ended around 2:30 p.m. Friday, the bus was full, and Wilson was able to start planning next year's drive with her fellow students.

"We'll definitely be doing it again next year," she said. "We're reaching out to a bunch of local businesses for it because it's a community thing."

Students from East Texas Baptist University and Panola College donated food to this year's drive to benefit Mission Carthage and the East Texas Food Bank.

"Next year, ETBU and Panola College are bringing their buses, and we're going to try to fill three buses," Wilson said.

Charles said the big food drive is something Wiley wanted to do especially in light of the rash of violence on campus earlier in the semester.

"We chose this to show that we can rise above it for a better cause and do something for somebody else, rather than be afraid," she said. "It's going to be even bigger next year."



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