Raidersgiving expects largest crowd ever

Wright State students celebrate Raidersgiving. (Photo by: WDTN/Jake Ryle)

FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) — It all started as an idea. An opportunity–for students, faculty and staff at Wright State University.

The goal was simple. To give a meal to those who might not be able to make it home this Thanksgiving.

“From what I’ve been told it started, very very small,” Volunteer Angie Loyd said.

Four years ago, it started with 12 students who came together to enjoy a meal. That number has now grown to reach more than 1,000.

“You know, the goal is that no Raider eats alone. And that’s why we have all these volunteers here. To make sure no Raider eats alone,” John McDufford, Director of Hospitality for the event tells 2 NEWS.

“It’s taken a couple of days to prepare everything. Turkey wise, 60. So we’ve got about 400 pounds of turkey.”

That, along with 200 pounds of mashed potatoes; however, for the students the meal provides another opportunity.

“This is a day that we’re supposed to be with people that we care about. Enjoy laughs with, and all of that stuff. So our slogan is No Raider eats alone.”

And no Raider had to feel alone at the event. As food from all different cultures was provided.

“Halal chicken so they can try that. We also have Jeet India,” McDufford added, “The diversity in this room will be incredible today.”

According to Ramana Grandhi, Executive Director for International Collaborations for Wright State’s Engineering Dept. tells us it’s all a measure to make the more than 1,800 International students on Wright State’s campus feel at home for the holiday.

“Mainly from International students from different cultures.. This is unique,” he said.

“You’re getting to engage in culture sharing in a way that typically you don’t get to do in a daily conversation,” Loyd added.

Dozens of volunteers made sure the event ran smoothly.

Simone Polk, Vice President of Student Services at Wright State, said she’s been coming to Raidersgiving as a volunteer for 2 years.

“I just love the enthusiasm, the excitement.. and seeing our students outside of our classroom.”

Their motto– ‘no Raider eats alone’ — could just have a deeper meaning.

No Raider.. No matter the culture.. is alone.

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