Mark your calendars for Jan. 23 — that’s the second annual Community Day at Ohio Wesleyan University.
A canned food donation allows visitors free admission to not one, but two basketball games — OWU versus Denison University. The women will tip off at 1 p.m., and the men are scheduled to follow at 3 p.m.
“It’s not often that you get to see a good Division III basketball game for free with the donation of canned food items,” said Mark Shipps, coordinator of the event for the Bishop Backers. The Backers are a group of university and community members that formed to foster better town-gown relations.
The donations will benefit Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio’s Food Pantries, which include Delaware.
In addition to the games, there will be a community expo from noon to 3:30 p.m. at the Branch Rickey Arena and Gordon Field House, 105 S. Sandusky St. The expo will feature tables for local nonprofit groups and businesses. The tables are free for nonprofits, and cost a gift card from businesses.
“Folks can come in and get information on a whole host of local organizations,” said Bishop Backer member Jack Hilborn. The idea is to increase connections and involvement among the groups and community.
While more than 40 tables were set up last year, and more than 1,000 people attended last year, the hope is for higher attendance in 2016.
“We were very gratified with the turnout,” Hilborn said. “I had a number of folks tell me that they had lived in Delaware their whole life and had never set foot on campus or gone to any cultural or sporting events.”
Expo attendees 18 and older will be able to get a ticket for prize drawings for a flat-screen TV and gift cards from merchants. The winners will be selected during the games.
This year, there will be a children’s play area, a pickleball demonstration courtesy of the YMCA, and animals brought in from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (from 2 to 3 p.m.). Food will be available for purchase.
“Community Day offers a great way to get out of the house and enjoy a day of free, family-friendly activities,” said university spokesman Cole Hatcher. “And if you’re looking for ways to become more involved in Delaware, you’ll find lots of connections here, too. The Bishop Backers are pleased to make this happen.”
The deadline to register for a table at the expo is Jan. 8. To register for a table at the event, visit www.owu.edu/bishopbackers.pdf.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/bishopbackers.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.