Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hark, hear the bells

Students, faculty, staff assist Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign

Bells will be ringing this season as Liberty volunteers encourage all passerby to give in support of the Lynchburg Salvation Army.

“The great thing about Salvation Army is the Christian aspect of it. They are not shy of Christ and celebrating the season for what it’s all about,” Liberty’s Salvation Army committee representative Darren Wu said.

According to their website, Salvation Army has been working across the world, putting their Christian faith into practice since 1865. The organization began the Red Kettle Campaign in 1891, in hopes that the change donated would feed those who could not afford a holiday meal, and has now become an annual event.

“Last year, Salvation Army served 29 million individuals in need, provided 64 million meals for the hungry and sheltered more than 10 million people with no place to go,” the Salvation Army’s website said.

Today, funds from the kettle drive support a number of community programs provided through the Salvation Army — such as, alcohol and drug treatment, emergency shelter, family counselling services and many others.

“(The funds) stay here in Lynchburg,” Wu said. “Every Salvation Army location across the country runs its own campaign, so this is just for the Salvation Army here in Lynchburg.”

The Salvation Army has set up kettles at 12 different locations across the city, including the entrance of J.C. Penney at River Ridge Mall, Walmart on Wards Road and Big Lots on Timberlake Road.

Over the years, Liberty has acted in service to the Salvation Army, with groups working in the local soup kitchen, helping with the Noah’s Ark day care program and youth program, as well as ringing the bell at Salvation Army kettle locations.

“The great thing that I love about it is that it involves faculty, staff and students,” Wu said.

This year there are over 20 Liberty student, staff and faculty taking turns ringing at Walmart on Wards Road.

Though the drive is meant as a means to give back this holiday season, volunteers say they cannot help but to feel the blessings serving offers.

“My experience in the last few years, everyone who has done it has left feeling like ‘oh, this is a really great thing and I’d like to do it next year,’” Wu said.

Two resident assistants that manned the kettles on Dec. 3 shared Wu’s sentiment.

“We are doing it to help support the Salvation Army and be a blessing (to the community),” senior Derek Walker said. “I would definitely (volunteer) again.”

Walker and fellow resident assistant junior Dominique Martin volunteered on behalf of the Office of Student Leadership.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Martin said. “I’m glad to be out here with this guy.”

The Salvation Army kettle drive began Nov. 12 and will run every Monday through Saturday until Christmas Eve.

Students can volunteer with the Salvation Army to fulfill their Christian service requirements. Since the kettle drive is less than 20 hours of service, students are allowed to work at a number of Salvation Army locations over the semester.

To find out more information about CSER opportunities or how to help with next year’s kettle drive, email Darren Wu at dcwu@liberty.edu. More information on the Salvation Army and their outreach programs can be found at salvationarmyusa.org.

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