Story by Harrison Dover, WVU Dining Services Communications Intern
From within the Café Evansdale Bakery, every treat that is prepared for WVU’s dining halls is crafted with the utmost care. The bakers work diligently to produce the necessary amount of baked goods for dining halls, catering events, or students needing a sweet reminder from home.
Whether it's treats for the holidays, for everyday dining needs, or a Hugs from Home order, these treats are sure to provide a Mountaineer with a smile. WVU Dining Services’ Hugs from Home program has for years provided a way for friends or family members to surprise students with a sweet treat on special occasions, or just for an everyday pick-me-up. Recently, the service received some new upgrades.
The Hugs from Home online ordering program offers everything from bakery-fresh cookies to cakes, not to mention Morgantown favorite, locally made pepperoni rolls.
Cookie tins have been the biggest seller for the program so far in the past. This past semester in particular, Martha Jackson, catering director for WVU Dining Services, noted that in August alone, they received more business than any previous singular month, with as many as 30 orders a day. Jackson thought this rise in order placements was likely a result of the pandemic, with concerned parents sending students back to school hoping they would stay in good health and spirits.
WVU Dining Services’ catering department oversees the program. To make the platform more user-friendly, WVU Dining Services recently upgraded the program to run on industry-leading software called Catertrax.
“This particular catering database isn’t just used globally for catering but it is also used by hospitals and retailers,” Jackson said.
Jackson is confident that the program will gain more usage now that it is paired with Catertrax, but for those who haven’t used the program before, curiosity in what has improved is normal.
“The new Hugs from Home embraces an easy online ordering platform we’ve all become accustomed to this past year,” Jackson said. “While our previous platform worked well, many of the choices were overlooked because of the site design.”
Now loved ones can easily send their favorite Mountaineer a good dose of cheer and love through a cookie, cake, or even a birthday box; with the simple quick click of a few buttons. Martha Jackson, Catering Director
After the update of Hugs from Home to its new platform, those now overseeing it have no plan to let things stay stagnant. What was mainly a platform for parents is hoped to eventually be expanded into a holiday treat service, as well as a platform for students to give back to one another. In years past, the program has been most popular with freshman students in residence halls, however this program is also an option for upperclassmen who live on or off campus.
Off-campus orders are delivered to the Evansdale Towers front desk, while on-campus freshmen can receive their orders at all dormitories. New drop-off locations are still being evaluated by Dining Services staff.
Access to the Hugs from Home program is available on the Dining website.