Sheena Sellitti Dunham
Weirton Food to Go’ Facebook page helped businesses
WEIRTON — When West Virginia’s state government began ordering businesses to limit or close down their operations in an attempt to cut down on exposure from the COVID-19 virus, area restaurants were faced with the possibility of not having enough customers to stay open.
That’s when Weirton resident and businesswoman Sheena Sellitti Dunham stepped up, using social media and connections within the community to bring attention to the issue.
Sellitti Dunham created a Facebook page called “Weirton Food to Go,” a place where local restaurants were able to reach out to residents with information about their menus and dining services — whether it be takeout, delivery or curbside pickup.
According to Brenda Mull, president of the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce, who nominated Sellitti Dunham, “No one was eating out anymore, and the future of restaurants was in jeopardy. Sheena took it upon herself to do something about it.”
Sellitti Dunham has experience in the restaurant business, having previously worked for almost six years at Theo Yianni’s, noting she still has friends in the industry and felt something needed to be done to help them out.
“I just know how hard they work,” she said. “It’s their livelihood.”
Sellitti Dunham explained the site was established as a positive place for the community, as a way to get information to residents.
“She would post every day what all the restaurants were offering throughout the Ohio Valley, showing pictures and encouraging everyone to support their community by ordering out or buying gift cards to support front-line workers,” Mull said. “Some restaurants you never heard much about were suddenly very busy.”
For Sellitti Dunham, it’s also a way to continue a family tradition of contributing to the Weirton community. A broker with Sellitti Realty, she is the granddaughter of Tony P. Sellitti, a 2013 inductee into the Weirton Hall of Fame recognized for the development of the Country Club Estates and Riverview Estates neighborhoods in Weirton, as well as the building of more than 600 homes in the region.
A Weirton native, Sellitti Dunham graduated from West Virginia University, after which she began her real estate career, working for firms in Morgantown and then Los Angeles, before returning home. She and her father established Sellitti Realty in 2015.
“I love being a small business and helping small businesses,” she said.
Sellitti Dunham said she never expected “Weirton Food to Go” to take off the way it has, but she feels it shows the kind of community spirit existing in the Ohio Valley.
“When times are tough, you really see people come together,” Sellitti Dunham said, adding she feels blessed to have been able to help. “It’s very humbling.”
As of Sept. 28, the page had more than 7,000 members and continues as a hub of information for area restaurants to post their menus and specials, as well as any community projects with which they may be involved.
It also has served as inspiration for others, with Sellitti Dunham noting Jake Young of Mobilize 360 has developed a “Weirton Food to Go” website and mobile application featuring links to many area eateries.
For her part, Sellitti Dunham recently took the idea a step further, creating a similar page to assist residents in locating providers in the services industries.
Sellitti Dunham’s designated charity for being selected as a 2020 Community Star is the Ari Angelo Foundation, which raises awareness of Craniosynostosis.