Serve Lynchburg Day brings positive change to local community
Liberty University’s long-lasting commitment to positively impact the community as Champions for Christ turned into a campuswide effort on Friday and Saturday as approximately 2,000 students, faculty, and staff members crowded into buses and headed to more than 90 sites throughout the city for the second annual Serve Lynchburg.
Early Saturday morning, students gathered on the Campus Lawn before heading off to their worksites. (View a slideshow below). David Nasser, senior vice president for spiritual development, encouraged the teams before they left campus.
“You really are reshaping in the minds of so many people the way that they think about your generation,” he told them. “You are being a testament to Christ not only to locals but to the world by volunteering and walking into the lives of people.”
As Liberty’s residential students served the local community on Saturday, many students studying in Liberty’s online program and living near Washington, D.C., worked at sites throughout the capital. (Read more about Serve DC).
In Lynchburg, volunteers joined Liberty’s Habitat for Humanity Club in continuing construction on the second Liberty-sponsored home. The team added gutters and worked on landscaping at the home, which is scheduled to be completed in the coming weeks. (Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, one of Habitat’s most well-known supporters, is this year’s Commencement speaker.)
Sophomore Stephen Lightner helped a homeowner move large trees and limbs that fell into her yard after last weekend’s EF3 tornado. Lightner said it was fulfilling to help in storm relief efforts, after hearing about the devastation.
“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,” Lightner said. “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 where freshmen volunteers Bailey Duran and Maddy Shreeman said they hoped to make face-to-face connections and 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.”
Just down the road from Daily Bread, students painted multiple rooms in need of refurbishment at the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance (LRBA) headquarters. The organization’s CEO, Megan Lucas, said that while the LRBA receives donations from local businesses, the volunteers helped in areas where funding has run short.
“Having the students come here is impactful and overwhelming,” Lucas said. “The students here today really tell the story — that we have amazing students and an amazing community who are willing to serve and support their neighbors.”
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. Students regularly go above and beyond to serve their community.
Serve Lynchburg is organized by LU Serve, which seeks to connect students with service opportunities across the globe in the name of Christ. Visit the LU Serve website for information on joining Liberty in these outreach efforts.