Hundreds of Liberty University faculty, staff and students are ringing bells this year to raise money for the Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign, which provides food, clothing and toys to families in need in Central Virginia.
“Just by volunteering our time we help the Salvation Army out tremendously as they have to hire people to ring their bells without volunteers,” said Darren Wu, Liberty’s Christian/Community Service coordinator and an assistant professor. He said about 330 individuals from Liberty are participating this holiday season.
In 2009, the community of Lynchburg helped raise about $233,000 for the Salvation Army’s area-wide campaign, with Liberty’s main volunteer location (outside Wal-Mart on Wards Road) raising $10,241 of that total. This year, Liberty’s volunteers have raised more than $3,000 at that site. The campaign began Nov. 12 and will continue every day until Christmas Eve, with the exception of Sundays.
Many departments and organizations at Liberty are coming together to help out. Coaches, players and staff from Liberty’s football program have been volunteering with the Salvation Army for the past 10 years.
“They [the Salvation Army] help so many people from so many different walks of life,” said Ed Gomes, Director of Spiritual Development for Liberty’s football program. “It provides an opportunity for our coaches, staff and players to give back to our community. It was an honor to put the focus on others.”
Liberty University School of Business faculty and staff took turns ringing bells on Nov. 22, marking the
third year that the School of Business has worked for the red kettle campaign.
“Besides seeing students and other colleagues at our assigned location that day, it was fun seeing neighbors and other community members who were universally polite and generous in giving,” said Dr. Bruce Bell, Dean of the School of Business. “We look forward to serving again next year.”
This year the Student Government Association (SGA) is volunteering with the campaign for the first time as a group.
“As Christian college students, we should do everything we can this Christmas season to help and love others,” said SGA president Bethany Davis.
Brandon Lewis, the Christian Service chair for SGA, helped to coordinate the volunteers and completed a four-hour shift on Nov. 29.
“It was amazing to know I was helping the people of Lynchburg by ringing a little red bell,” Lewis said.
Participation in the red kettle campaign allowed students to earn Christian Service hours (a requirement at Liberty).
Many other organizations in Lynchburg are working together to contribute to the cause, including the Lynchburg Police Department, Lynchburg College faculty, staff and students, as well as many local businesses, churches and civic organizations.
“This is definitely an area-wide thing and every organization plays their part. Liberty is just part of the community helping the community -- we’re just a part of the whole team,” Wu said.
Liberty University departments/groups participating this year:
School of Education
School of Aeronautics
Center for Counseling and Family Studies
Center4ME (Center for Multicultural Enrichment)
School of Business
Center for Academic Support and Advising Services (CASAS)
School of Communication
Office of International Student Services
Office of Student Leadership
School of Engineering
School of Religion
Student Care Office
Office of Student Conduct
Christian/Community Service (CSER)
Helms School of Government
Integrated Learning Resource Center (ILRC)