Sep 09, 2016

The start of a new school year always stirs concerns, even anxieties, about encountering new friends and new places. Lebanon Valley College, related to the Eastern PA Conference, attempts to alleviate those anxieties with their Freshmen Orientation program.

Among the many activities is a time for first-year students to do community service with neighboring nonprofit organizations, an enterprise which the Campus Ministry Office helps organize. Previously, the organizations came to campus and worked with the freshmen there. This year, for the first time, students left campus to go do their community service, fittingly, in the community.

On August 28, 77 students—including 69 freshmen and eight upper-class peer mentors—traveled to the Northwest District’s Mission Central HUB at Immanuel UMC in Cleona. The HUB is a branch of the Mission Central warehouse in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

The group tackled various projects, aided by 11 Immanuel members. They enjoyed a spirit of camaraderie and sharing, while helping people in need throughout the region and the world. Their accomplishments included:

  • Preparing, sorting, and assembling 20 cleaning buckets for distribution in flooded areas.
  • Cutting fabric and assembling 33 sewing kits.
  • Cutting flannel, cutting plastic, taping razor blades, measuring string and assembling 262 birthing kits.
  • Washing, drying, and removing labels from 236 pill bottles that will go to Africa through the American Foundation for Children with AIDS.
  • Preparing towels nail clippers, and other items to assemble 170 Health Kits.
  • Cutting cloth for the future sewing of 88 school bags.
  • Making and designing 72 personalized greeting cards for veterans at the VA Hospital.
  • Cutting plastic bags into large balls for knitting and crocheting sleeping mats.
  • Cutting fresh vegetables and chicken, and preparing 50 quarts of chicken vegetable soup for the free noon meal at Lebanon Christian Ministries.

“We give thanks to all who made this possible,” said Jeanne Earnshaw of the Northwest District Mission Central HUB in Cleona. She cited a broader benefit of the UMC connection because many items assembled for the 170 health kits were left over from the kits assembled at the Eastern PA Annual Conference in June. And towels placed in the kits were purchased with funds donated at Annual Conference. “We packed them with extra love,” said Earnshaw.

“This was a great example of connectionalism and community outreach!” added the Rev. Greg Ellis, Disaster Ministry and UMVIM Coordinator.

Adapted with thanks from a story by Jeanne Earnshaw of the Northwest District Mission Central HUB in Cleona.