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Time Well Spent: Liberty University Students Build Community by Serving Others

In April, Liberty University continued its commitment to impacting the community as Champions for Christ when it sponsored the second annual Serve Lynchburg. Over a Friday and Saturday, approximately 2,000 students, faculty, and staff worked at more than 90 sites. From painting, landscaping, and picking up litter to playing games with neighborhood children and serving food to the homeless, participants met the needs of thousands throughout the City of Lynchburg.

Some Liberty teams also responded to a more immediate need from residents whose homes were damaged when a tornado swept through the region the previous weekend.

“I think it’s amazing that we’re able to respond to something like the tornado that has affected the community and the residents here,” said sophomore Stephen Lightner, who helped a homeowner move large trees and limbs that fell into her yard. “The cleanup is a massive burden for a lot of people, so it’s great that we’re able to take a bit of that burden off of them.”

In Downtown Lynchburg, a team at the Lynchburg Daily Bread soup kitchen prepared and served a hot lunch, an act that freshman volunteer Bailey Duran said she hoped would build relationships with residents who are in need.

“What we want to do is show Liberty’s presence in the community,” Duran said. “Just to do what the Lord said — to go out into the world and interact with people and help them in Christ’s name.”

This year, in conjunction with Serve Lynchburg, Liberty also offered a special service opportunity for its alumni and online students in the Washington, D.C., area. During Serve DC, students volunteered at Bread for the City, the Salvation Army, Pillar Church of Woodlawn, Veritas City Church, and So Others Might Eat.

While Liberty requires all students to complete community service hours before they graduate, Serve Lynchburg and many other volunteer opportunities throughout the year don’t count toward those hours. From participating in numerous food drives on campus to ringing bells for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign, students regularly go above and beyond to serve their community. Professors often encourage service projects in their classes, too.

Last semester, students in an event management course in the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences raised money by hosting creative fundraisers they planned for several local organizations, including the Jubilee Center (which helps at-risk youth), the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, and the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center. A class of School of Divinity students raised $3,000 and donated their time to pack meals for children in Nicaragua through Rise Against Hunger.

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Liberty University, also referred to as Liberty, is a private, non-profit Christian research university in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty is one of the largest Christian universities in the world and the largest private non-profit university in the United States, measured by student enrollment.