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Sunday, May 19, 2024

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Students Raise Funds for College-Campus Barista

Liberty University students Lexi Mealy

By Press Release

LYNCHBURG, VA. – Two Liberty University students’ viral campaign raised over $2,000 for their on-campus barista, whose home was damaged in a tornado. One of the students is Cape May County’s Lexie Mealey, of Palermo, who graduated from Ocean City High School in 2016. Mealy is a psychology/substance abuse counseling major.
What seemed like an ordinary day at the Jerry Falwell Library Starbucks quickly materialized into an opportunity to put biblical principles into action. While waiting in line for her morning coffee, Lizzy Campbell and Mealey overheard a conversation they could not ignore.
It was just days after a tornado struck parts of Lynchburg and a customer asked barista Gloria Halterman whether her home had been affected. When Halterman replied that it had, Campbell and Mealey immediately wanted to do something to help her.
“She [Halterman] completely downplayed it, that’s especially why I wanted to do something,” stated Campbell. “It wasn’t her complaining, it was her just answering someone’s question, and she acted like it wasn’t a big deal.”
After digging around online, Campbell discovered that the damage to Halterman’s home was, in fact, a big deal. Together with her best friend Mealey, Campbell organized a GoFundMe campaign to help Halterman make the repairs needed for her home to be livable again.
“With the combination of how she blesses us… and the fact that she wasn’t reaching out for help even though she was in need of it, I just thought it was time for her to be blessed and helped through this hard time,” added Campbell.
According to the duo, Halterman’s gentle spirit and kind smile have made quite the impression on their Liberty experience.
“Gloria [Halterman] has been making my same Starbucks drink every morning for the past two years,” stated Mealey. “She has been a beaming light in my life. If I am having a stressful day, Gloria is always there with words of encouragement to keep going.”
Having someone like Halterman to remember their usual orders and ask them how things are going has also been a meaningful way to start each day.
“At most places, they’ll say ‘hi,’ give you your drink, and ‘bye,’ but [Halterman] remembers everyone’s name,” stated Campbell. “Just having someone smile at you right after you wake up to go get your coffee is always uplifting. It’s the simplest things Gloria does that have made such an impact on everyone else.”
Campbell and Mealey shared the GoFundMe on Facebook, but nothing could have prepared them for what happened next. The campaign went viral amongst the Liberty University community, raising over $2,100 in just two days.
“It blew my mind,” stated Campbell. “The goal was $1,000 and people just blew that out of the water, so we moved it up to $1,500 and people kept giving. The fact that it got above $2,000 just shows that the workers here on campus are part of our family too.”
According to Mealey, their efforts were not about receiving praise or attention for themselves, but rather about taking a burden off a sister in Christ when she needed it most.
“As a campus, this can’t just be a one-time thing,” stated Mealey. “Each day, we need to put ourselves aside and… serve those who need it. A simple step like setting up a fundraiser made more of a difference than Lizzy [Campbell] and I could have ever imagined. It is because of the selflessness and generosity of the students on this campus that Gloria [Halterman] was able to have the money she needed to start rebuilding her home.”
Mealey said she hopes this experience will inspire fellow students to continue sharing the love of Christ with everyone they encounter, even in small ways.
“Even praying over someone or offering an hour of your time to serve can make more of a difference than we realize,” stated Mealey. “…Romans 12:10 sums up my thoughts behind this entire campaign: ‘Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.’”
Written by Kathy Mealy.

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