Two Liberty students’ viral campaign raises over $2,000 for their on-campus barista
What seemed like an ordinary day at the Jerry Falwell Library Starbucks quickly materialized into an opportunity to put biblical principles into action.
While waiting in line for her morning coffee, Liberty University student Lizzy Campbell overheard a conversation she could not ignore.
It was just days after last month’s tornado struck parts of Lynchburg, and a customer asked barista Gloria Halterman whether her home had been affected.
When Halterman replied that it had, Campbell immediately wanted to do something to help her.
“She (Halterman) completely downplayed it—that’s especially why I wanted to do something,” Campbell said. “It wasn’t her complaining, it was her just answering someone’s question and she acted like it wasn’t a big deal.”
After digging around online, Campbell discovered that the damage to Halterman’s home was, in fact, a big deal.
Together with her best friend Lexie Mealey, Campbell organized a GoFundMe campaign to help Halterman make the repairs needed for her home to be livable again.
“With the combination of how she blesses us…and the fact that she wasn’t reaching out for help even though she was in need of it, I just thought it was time for her to be blessed and helped through this hard time,” Campbell said.
According to the duo, Halterman’s gentle spirit and kind smile have made quite the impression on their Liberty experience.
“Gloria (Halterman) has been making my same Starbucks drink, a Strawberry Acai Refresher, every morning…for the past two years,” Mealey said. “She has been a beaming light in my life. If I am having a stressful day, Gloria is always there with words of encouragement to keep going.”
Having someone like Halterman to remember their usual orders and ask them how things are going has also been a meaningful way to start each day.
“At most places, they’ll say ‘Hi,’ give you your drink and ‘Bye,’ but (Halterman) remembers everyone’s name,” Campbell said. “Just having someone smile at you right after you wake up to go get your coffee is always uplifting. It’s the simplest things Gloria does that have made such an impact on everyone else.”
Campbell and Mealey shared the GoFundMe on Facebook, but nothing could have prepared them for what happened next.
The campaign went viral amongst the Liberty community, raising over $2,100 in just two days.
“It blew my mind,” Campbell said. “The goal was $1,000 and people just blew that out of the water, so we moved it up to $1,500 and people kept giving. The fact that it got above $2,000 just shows that the workers here on campus are part of our family, too.”
According to Mealey, their efforts were not about receiving praise or attention for themselves, but rather, about taking a burden off a sister in Christ when she needed it most.
“As a campus, this can’t just be a one-time thing,” Mealey said. “Each day we need to put ourselves aside and…serve those who need it. A simple step like setting up a fundraiser made more of a difference than Lizzy (Campbell) and I could have ever imagined. It is because of the selflessness and generosity of the students on this campus that Gloria (Halterman) was able to have the money she needed to start rebuilding her home.”
Mealey said she hopes this experience will inspire fellow students to continue sharing the love of Christ with everyone they encounter, even in small ways.
“Even praying over someone or offering an hour of your time to serve can make more of a difference than we realize,” Mealey said. “… Romans 12:10 sums up my thoughts behind this entire campaign: ‘Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.’”