The Cat Who Fed Others
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
It started out as a pet photo contest to attract people to a local company’s Facebook page. It turned into a fierce battle of Facebook users over who had the most deserving pet. According to Don Feenerty, Marketing and Community Development Executive with Unified Bank the competition got pretty heated toward the end of the contest. Feenerty said, “at eight o’clock on the last day it was down to three entries vying for first place. By eleven Susan Hagan’s cat, Kevin was the clear winner. That boiled down to hundreds of votes in just a few hours”
Susan Hagan has long been involved with non-profit organizations in the Wheeling Area. With the onset of Covid-19 Hagan joined forces with the Soup Kitchen to make sure local residents from Belmont County in Ohio and Ohio and Marshall Counties in West Virginia had enough to eat. When she first entered the Unified pet photo contest, Hagan thought Kevin had a chance to win. But then friends she asked to vote kept telling her there were also plenty of cute dogs, some donkeys and even an adorable little pig in the contest. Fearing an upset she decided to enlist the help of some friends. Among these recruits was Becky Shilling-Rodocker.
Becky Shilling-Rodocker is the Executive Director of the Greater Wheeling Soup Kitchen. Between the two, Hagan and Shilling-Rodocker have over 3,000 Facebook friends. Hagan decided to donate any prize money won to the Soup Kitchen. The thought of raising a little money for the Soup Kitchen and taking part in a friendly pet promotion sounded like fun. According to Shilling-Rodocker, “the Soup Kitchen depends on donations and support from the community. We’ve been in operation since 1982 and have always believed that any donation is a blessing.”
When asked why Hagan chose the Soup Kitchen to donate her winnings to, she answered, “The Soup Kitchen doesn’t only feed people, they realize how much people depend on their pets for company and stress management. They understand how much we love our pets. So, they also hand out pet food to those in need. The decision was an easy one for me.
Pre Covid the Soup Kitchen served breakfast and lunch Monday - Saturday at their indoor dining facility at 1610 Eoff, Street in Wheeling, WV. Following current guidelines of the State of West Virginia and the CDC the Soup Kitchen now distributes packaged meals three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There are no restrictions as to who can be served at The Soup Kitchen. “There are no questions asked when you walk through our doors,” said Shilling-Rodocker, adding “we realize that if you come to The Soup Kitchen, you meet our requirements and we’re happy to serve.” The Soup Kitchen also delivers meals to area homeless and to the elderly in local high rises.
When Unified Bank discovered that Susan Hagan was donating her prize money to The Soup Kitchen, they decided to match the amount and make a donation in Hagan’s name. They also asked to be able to produce a video on The Soup Kitchen and Hagan’s donation. The finished product will soon be published on Unified Bank’s Facebook page and shared by Hagan, Shilling-Rodocker and The Soup Kitchen in hopes of raising awareness for the need for future donations to causes like The Soup Kitchen and food pantries.
Unified Bank is a full-service FDIC-insured, state-chartered commercial bank headquartered in Martins Ferry, OH and has nineteen locations that serve the Ohio counties of Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Fairfield, Harrison, Hocking, Jefferson and Tuscarawas and Marshall County in West Virginia. Unified Bank is the sole operating subsidiary of United Bancorp, Inc. (UBCP), a publicly-traded bank holding company, and has been serving the financial needs of the Ohio Valley since 1902 from its headquarters in Martins Ferry, Ohio.