Faith & Service

Loving Thy Neighbor

September 24, 2020

Liberty University has a longstanding tradition of community service. When there’s a need, students, faculty, staff, and alumni rise to the occasion to invest in others’ lives and display Christ’s love. The COVID-19 pandemic presented many opportunities for them to share their talents and assist their neighbors during an unprecedented time in our nation’s history.

 


>> Members of the Liberty Worship Collective visited Lynchburg’s Runk & Pratt Retirement Community in April and led worship on the outdoor lawn for residents who were under strict distancing guidelines due to being in a high-risk demographic for contracting COVID-19. The unique setlist of songs consisted of hymns that the residents were sure to recognize. The Collective also delivered gift baskets of handwritten letters, candy, and other small gifts.


>> Students taking Liberty’s required Christian Life and Evangelism course had to make an adjustment and be creative in order to fulfill their servant evangelism assignments when classes were moved online last spring. Projects ranged from buying groceries for elderly neighbors to writing encouraging notes with gift cards for essential workers, donating blood, providing free child care for families of essential workers, and more. Rising sophomore Hannah Ulrich spent her Easter Sunday filling roughly 100 plastic eggs with candy and printed Scripture verses, then riding around her neighborhood on her bike and hanging the eggs on door handles. (READ MORE)


>> Liberty donated 15,000 KN95 medical masks to local healthcare companies experiencing shortages in late April due to the high demand from healthcare workers worldwide, as well as from members of the general public buying masks for personal protection. Recipients included the CVFP-Medical Group, Johnson Health Center, Physicians Treatment Center, Walk-In Care, Surgery Center, Community Access Network, Blue Ridge ENT, Radiology Consultants of Lynchburg, Central Virginia Imaging, Wyndhurst Family Medicine, and Gastroenterology Associates. (READ MORE)


>> In April, Liberty’s respiratory therapy program lent Centra Health two mechanical ventilators — state-of-the-art machines worth an estimated $30,000 — to help treat patients at Lynchburg General Hospital. In addition to the equipment, program director Dr. Brian Walsh and his staff gave online training to area medical personnel and produced short, informational videos on operating ventilators. (READ MORE)


>> Multiple alumni of the undergraduate and graduate programs in public health have been actively fighting the spread of COVID-19 in the United States and around the world. Shelby Todd (’19) served on the Incident Management team for Samaritan’s Purse as part of a medical response to those affected in Italy. Justin Hammerberg (’17) worked in Washington, D.C., with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in the Bureau for Global Health. Shiloh Reeves (’16) set up a COVID-19 hotline in Sarasota County to direct potentially affected people to the proper resources, including testing, and other divisions of the Florida Department of Health. (READ MORE)


>> Liberty University partnered with Sodexo, Liberty’s dining services provider, to donate over $20,000 worth of food to charities in the Lynchburg area. After having already bought food for on-campus dining before the transition to online classes in March, enough for 15,000 residential students, Liberty saw the surplus as an opportunity to serve the surrounding community. Massive amounts of dried goods, produce, meats, dairy products, and other foods, were hauled from The Food Court at Reber-Thomas, Liberty’s main dining hall, to the Salvation Army, Lynchburg Daily Bread, and Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. (READ MORE)


>> In early August, Liberty donated 124 laptops and desktop computers to help Central Virginia Community College make the shift to remote learning easier for students who did not have the needed technology at home. The devices will be used as part of the community college’s “loaner” program that will allow students to borrow a computer for a semester or year to complete online schoolwork, organized through the school’s library services.
Liberty also donated 800 flash drives to Amherst County Public Schools in March.


>> Through Liberty’s Office of Military Affairs, faculty and staff across the university gave a portion of their regular donations to local veterans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The office presented $3,500 in gift cards to the Lynchburg Area Veterans Council, a local charity committed to identifying and meeting needs within the community, helping veterans find homes, and meeting financial needs. (READ MORE)


>> Countless members of Liberty’s School of Nursing family have served on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, including alumni Elisabeth Campbell (’14), left, and Alexandra Dawe (’16), right, as well as adjunct nursing professor Sarah Smith (’13), who all shared their personal stories with the Liberty Journal staff. While Dawe works as a pediatric ICU nurse in Atlanta, she joined her fellow nurses in early April for five weeks in New York City, the American epicenter of the virus at the time, to come alongside medical workers understaffed for the influx of patients. Smith and Campbell served closer to their homes, and all three nurses approached their work with compassion, safety, and the goal that all nurses have of seeing their patients recover. (READ MORE)

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