Liberty University’s Students Behind our Soldiers received a $16,000 donation from Regal Entertainment Group on Thursday night.
The student non-profit organization was chosen as one of the charities to benefit from a grand opening promotion this week at the new Regal theater at River Ridge mall in Lynchburg. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the theater held $1 movie nights, with a portion of the proceeds going to a different local charity each night. Wednesday was Liberty’s night, with every show sold out.
“We had the largest number out of the three charities that they donated to,” said Mandi Forth, the group’s founder and staff adviser. “And apparently these were the largest numbers ever seen for these charity days that Regal holds every time they open a new theatre. It was very exciting.”
Students Behind Our Soldiers started in the fall of 2007. The organization collects nonperishable food, videos, basic toiletries and other items for care packages to ship to soldiers whose names are submitted by students or community members. They also sponsor events for Liberty’s Military Appreciation Week in November and other patriotic activities throughout the year.
Forth said the donation “opens up so many doors for us.” Now the group can send more, better care packages, she said. The group had run out of money that a donor had given to cover shipping costs and had been planning on using a local company that would ship care packages for free, only to find out it is no longer doing that. “Honestly I wasn’t sure how we were going to be able to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Forth said.
“I am so excited for what the future is going to hold for us,” she added. “I never in a thousand years could have expected that large of a donation. They didn’t tell me how much it was, so literally as I was walking on stage to accept the check, they turned it around and announced how much it was. I couldn’t believe it.”
Forth, who graduated in 2009 with a communications degree and is currently working as a VA benefits representative with Liberty’s Military Affairs Office, said she plans on starting up similar groups at other universities.
“God is so good. I didn’t orchestrate this event; they came to us,” she said. “I don’t know why or how He chose me to start SBS, I only know that so far it’s been one amazing ride.”
Visit Students Behind our Soldiers on Facebook. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read about Students Behind Our Soldiers in the Liberty Journal online.