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Penn State Alum Selling Custom Prints To Help Feed State College Community

Like many Penn Staters, Alyssa Wheeler isn’t standing idly by while the coronavirus pandemic impacts the lives of Nittany Lions across the country.

Wheeler, a Penn State graduate and third-generation Penn Stater, has partnered with State College’s very own Corner Room to help feed local community members by selling prints of Happy Valley icons.

“I originally reached out to the Corner Room to offer them a print of my artwork as I had created a portrait of their restaurant,” Wheeler said. “I also asked if they would be willing to sell my Corner Room prints at their restaurant on consignment for a portion of my profits. They were so kind and encouraging and said they loved the artwork so much they offered to display my entire collection!”

But as the coronavirus pandemic made its way to Centre County, both partners realized they could use Wheeler’s artistry to help Penn Staters in need.

Together, along with Hotel State College director of operations Curtis Shulman, they founded an online campaign to provide free groceries to State College residents using the profits from Wheeler’s prints.

“I am so thankful for how the Corner Room has stepped up to serve the community when they have every right to focus on their own business during this season,” Wheeler said. “We really have been blown away by the support of the community and we know that together we can help provide food and hope to so many more families through this crisis.”

Wheeler and the Corner Room have teamed up to use those funds to donate 50 bags containing groceries and gift cards to local stores to community members every Thursday. Each bag contains enough items to make four meals.

So far, they’ve packaged 100 kits and are working to expand the operation in the coming weeks. In total, Wheeler’s sold more than 360 prints and raised nearly $2,000 through the campaign.

A collage of the many prints offered through Wheeler’s shop.

According to Shulman, “100% of the proceeds have gone directly into the pockets of our community members who are struggling.”

“Since we aren’t open for business, we had to pursue our collaboration a little differently,” Shulman said. “We decided to double down on our mission to help feed our community members who are struggling as a result of Covid-19.”

Although the Corner Room has been closed for a few weeks due to statewide restrictions on business operations, the restaurant has previously offered free meals, such as pasta dinners, to help feed community members.

To purchase prints for yourself to benefit the initiative, head over to Wheeler’s Etsy shop. There, you’ll find an assortment of Penn State-themed etchings of iconic landmarks including Old Main, the Lion Shrine, Beaver Stadium, the Nittany Lion Inn, and, of course, the Corner Room.

Each print can be purchased individually as a 5″ x 7″ or 8″ x 10″ for $11.75, with $5 benefitting the campaign. Additionally, a set of all five prints is available for a cool $50. Each Penn State-themed item on her shop currently offers free shipping.

“My favorite part about this campaign is seeing how a simple bag of groceries can provide much needed physical support in the form of meals,” Wheeler said. “But it also provides hope and encouragement as every bag represents a community who cares and wants to serve one another through this season.”

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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