Newswise — Membership in the National Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu, differs slightly at each of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the nation. At Wheeling Jesuit University, it entails feeding the hungry--every day.
Weekends, the day before a paper is due, exam weeks, Christmas break, summer—Alpha Sigma Nu members facilitate the pickup of leftover bread and deli items from two area Riesbeck grocery stores for delivery to Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center. Other volunteers who join the honor society in undertaking this project accept this responsibility with all seriousness because they know that people will not eat if this service is not provided.
Alpha Sigma Nu faculty moderator Rev. Michael F. Steltenkamp, S.J., launched this project in 2001 with the assistance of a student who was enrolled in his classes. "Father Mike" asked Richard Riesbeck ('03), president and CEO of Riesbeck Foods Inc., if Alpha Sigma Nu students could pick up clearance items from his stores and deliver them to Catholic Charities. Thus, was born what has become known as the daily "bread run."
The honor society continues to recruit and coordinate campus volunteers for this project, and assistance has come from diverse niches of the campus community. Students living at the Mother Jones House, an international Christian community, do Saturday pickups, but other volunteers have covered different days.
University President Rev. Joseph R. Hacala, S.J., does the bread run.Jesuit Fathers Buckius, Hohman, Karwin, O'Brien, O'Donnell and Peduti were joined this year by the Physics Club, members of WJU's athletic teams, members of its sponsored programs and its librarian.
Jay DeFruscio, WJU's Director of Athletics, took teams the proposition of joining the honor society. In turn, they agreed to rotate doing pickups on certain days of the month. This enabled the athletes to put another face on their presence to WJU and the Wheeling area. Alpha Sigma Nu became yeast for others to perform service, but it was a WJU student who made this effort possible.
The success of this project depends on many caring people whose modest sacrifice of time feeds the hungry year-round.