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Liberty students embrace giving back during Liberty’s inaugural MLK Day of Service

At 10 different locations on Monday,  Liberty University students stood ready to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ during the university’s first ever MLK Day of Service.

The service initiative was originally scheduled for Jan. 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, before a snowstorm warranted the rescheduling. The event was hosted by LU Serve in partnership with Liberty’s Office of Equity and Inclusion.

“Liberty University is excited to partner with local community leaders to help our neighbors,” said Shon Muldrow, Liberty’s executive vice president of inclusion, diversity, and equity. “Martin Luther King Jr. set an example of bold Christian service, so MLK day should be an opportunity for all of us to do the same. Jesus came to serve, and nothing is more unifying than when we answer the biblical call to give of ourselves and love our neighbor.”

Students cleaned out a walk-in freezer at Park View Community Mission’s Food for Families operation. (Photos by Ellie Richardson)

“Education and service go hand in hand as we remember the life, sacrifices, and ministry of Martin Luther King Jr.,” LU Serve Executive Director Lew Weider added. “I am so proud of our students and the partnerships Liberty University has with community organizations as they make a positive difference in the lives of our neighbors.”

The event ran from 1-4 p.m. and the site assignments varied from sorting clothing at Park View Community Mission to working in the warehouse at Gleaning for the World in nearby Concord, Va., and property cleanup at Lynchburg Daily Bread. Transportation, orientation, and lunch was provided for all participants.

“I’m blessed to be at Liberty,” junior Isaiah Gillette said while cleaning out a walk-in freezer at Park View Community Mission’s Food for Families operation. “This is an opportunity to serve the community around me. I’m really excited to be doing this. I feel really blessed to come out here.”

Josh Werth (second from right) serves alongside his classmates at Park View Mission’s Food for Thought.

It wasn’t the first time serving the community for junior business student Josh Werth, who volunteers at Park View’s Food for Thought program every Saturday morning. The backpack supplemental feeding program provides food-insecure students with nutritious meals for the weekend as they leave school on Friday afternoons.

“As Christians we are called to be the hands and feet of Christ,” Werth said. “Doing things like this kind of reinforces that this is what we believe. We can say that we believe something all the time, but when we go out and do it is when we are really exemplifying the heart of Christ.”

The other service sites on Monday included HumanKind, World Help, Salvation Army Lynchburg,  Amazement Square Children’s Museum, YWCA of Central Virginia, and the Park View Community Mission Clothing Connection.

Each year, Liberty students volunteer over 400,000 hours through Christian Community Service (CSER) and LU Serve events.