S. ABINGTON TWP. — Students and faculty members of Clarks Summit University participated in Community Appreciation Day by volunteering throughout Northeast Pennsylvania. On Nov. 1, groups of students departed from campus to serve in projects that included yard work for elderly community members, maintenance and cleaning for local churches and work at various non-profit organizations.
Students served with their residence halls. One group from Fletcher Hall volunteered at Keystone Mission in Scranton. Keystone Mission serves food and distributes clothes, shoes, towels and other necessities to homeless, hungry and hurting people in Northeast Pennsylvania, as their website describes. With the winter season approaching, workers had not been able to keep up with the incoming clothing donations. The volunteers from CSU sorted and labeled men’s, women’s and children’s clothing.
“I think it was a great opportunity to serve God through serving other people, and I had a great time with the girls,” said Elyse Gunther, a freshman in the English education program.
At Summit Christian Academy, students worked as teachers’ helpers, doing everything from reading with students and organizing books to helping students prepare for upcoming Grandparent’s Day by baking cookies.
Residents of Loescher Hall did yard work for people in the Abington community. One of the groups helped at the home of Freddie Loescher, a former CSU dean of students and the man for whom their residence hall is named. They dug ditches, raked leaves and cleared away branches. The volunteers also did yard work for Loescher’s neighbor.
Alijah Rockefeller, a sports and recreational ministries major, said it was “cool” to see the guys from his residence hall working hard to serve.
Another team worked at North Valley Baptist Church in Jermyn. The church was going through some remodeling, and volunteers helped move supplies into new rooms. The students also helped paint walls, steam-clean carpets, sanitize children’s toys and organize supplies.
One student volunteer, Rebekah McColl, a junior counseling major, attends North Valley Baptist Church as a student member.
“It’s a good way for us to reach out to our community and help them,” she explained. “We can also use the day to get to know local people and build relationships. It’s a very practical way to share the love of Christ.”
A group of students from Barndollar Hall and Ridley Hall went to the Ronald McDonald House of Scranton and served under the direction of CSU alumna, Emily Noble. Noble is the office manager for the organization.
“This act of kindness that you guys are showing us really helps to present to our families a very welcoming home environment by having it clean and very welcoming when they come,” she said.
The student and faculty volunteers cleaned rooms in the house, reorganized the basement and storage areas and did weeding and cleaning in the outdoor gardens.
“The opportunity was great because we were able to work with a diverse group of students from several dorms,” said Marilyn Luster, CSU’s human resources coordinator and resident director of Barndollar Hall.
She added it gave students an opportunity to see the ministry of a CSU alumna.
Some of the other entities that received help from CSU’s volunteers were the Abington Business and Professional Association, Grace Bible Church and Heritage Baptist Church.