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Students give generously to ‘Pass it On’ end-of-semester donation drive

As students moved out of their residence halls at the close of the spring semester, they had the chance to bless their Lynchburg area neighbors one more time before leaving campus for the summer.

From May 1-8, students placed gently used clothing and household items in bins around campus for this year’s Pass It On: Practice Generosity campaign, which benefited two area two nonprofit organizations, One Community, One Voice (OCOV) and Abundant Grace Ministries.

OCOV Executive Director Dr. James Camm at one of the four sites where Liberty students could donate clothing and household items.

The campaign was organized by LU Serve, the office that provides engaging educational, ministry, and service opportunities for students throughout the year. Donation bins were placed at Slim Chickens, the marching band field, South Tower residence hall, and the School of Business.

The response was so large that OCOV said they filled six 20-foot box trucks with donations, and Abundant Grace Ministries filled a 5-by-10 storage container.

“The LU students really had a heart to give,” OCOV Executive Director Dr. James Camm said. “We have a mountain, a literal mountain, of clothes.”

LU Serve Director Steven Gillum said the end-of-year collection is a great way for students to minister to others.

“Pass it On: Practice Generosity is an opportunity for residential students to contribute gently used clothing, shoes, and small household goods that could be passed on to communities in need,” he said. “We want students to see this opportunity as part of their spiritual development and faith, that practicing generosity is a reflection of our devotion to the Lord.”

It was also the first year Liberty has partnered with the nonprofits.

“We identified two organizations that would utilize the items well, two different ministries trying to use those donated items to make an impact for the kingdom of God.”

OCOV creates relationships with local families and hosts a back-to-school event each year where it provides children with necessary resources, like clothing and school items, to start the year off well.

“It was such an awesome opportunity,” Camm said about the campaign. “LU Serve reached out to us, and we were so thankful.”

He said the organization hosted over 8,000 people at its back-to-school event last year, and it ran out of clothing and school items to give out. Because of Pass it On, “Now this year, we’ll be able to give more gently used items,” he said, calling the mountain of clothing bags at their warehouse “astronomical.”

“Hopefully every child will get what they need to start off with a successful school year.”

Abundant Grace Ministries, a nonprofit started by nursing student Katherine Constanza, sends donated items to those in need in Guatemala.

An Abundant Grace Ministries volunteer prays with a woman in Guatemala after distributing donated items.

“The main goal of the ministry is to help and bless people who are less fortunate,” said Constanza, who is originally from Guatemala. “These are people who don’t have a pair of shoes, or a pot to cook in, or people that have never had a mattress because they’ve been sleeping on a piece of wood their whole lives. Then, while we distribute the items, we spread the Gospel and evangelize.”

While students may not directly see the results of their generosity, Camm said their actions have made a massive impact.

“We have a volunteer who works with us, and when I informed them that LU Serve chose us to be the recipient of the items this year, it brought tears to her eyes,” he said. The volunteer explained to Camm that she had received clothes from a college when she was younger, and it allowed her to wear a nice outfit on her first day back to school.

Camm said that having simple things — like a nice outfit to wear — can help a child focus on being confident as they go into the school year instead of focusing on what they don’t have.

A large storage container filled with donations from Liberty students. The items were separated and categorized before being shipped to Guatemala.

Gillum hopes that LU Serve can continue the partnerships with local organizations for the annual campaign.

“We want to see this grow and continue so students know that, at the end of the year, there’s an organization that can use their stuff. It will have an impact on their relationships with the community they are in; they can continue discipleship and making an impact for the kingdom of God. That pair of shoes or that shirt will open the door for a relationship.”

For information on donating items to OCOV, visit their website. To donate to Abundant Grace Ministries, email graciaabundanteministerio@gmail.com.

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