Service Partner Profiles

During the 2019-20 academic year, LVC students supported more than 140 different community organizations and causes through their service, many of which they engage with on a regular basis. We are pleased to feature the work of four such community partners here, giving light to the invaluable ways they strive to achieve a more just world for all.

Learn More about our Service Partners

AFCA is a non-profit that supports children infected and/or affected by HIV and AIDS in Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.LVC students and community members support AFCA by sorting and packing medical supplies and raising awareness and funds.

American Foundation for Children with AIDS

The American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA) is a non-profit that supports children infected and/or affected by HIV and AIDS in Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After AIDS decimated an entire generation in Africa and with famines a common issue, AFCA asked local populations how it could help. The organization now supports children through livelihood programs, medical support, educational support, sustainability projects, and a special emergency fund. From distributing medicine and medical supplies to covering school fees to creating sustainable food projects, AFCA promotes self-reliance and builds capacity in families and communities. The organization’s work has impacted tens of thousands of Africans.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, the American Foundation for Children with AIDS has used its Operation Honeycomb special emergency fund to create handwashing stations in the communities where they work and educate local populations. However, AFCA has seen a decrease in funding because of the cancellation of fundraising events and fewer individual donations and grants. The organization is not a newcomer to pandemics and will continue to provide support, despite these challenges.

Tanya Weaver, executive director of AFCA, is a strong believer that everyone can be a part of the solution, saying that we all have something to give. LVC students and community members can help by sorting and packing medical supplies the first Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the AFCA warehouse in Lebanon.* Additionally, AFCA partners with LVC to raise awareness and funds through Pass My Plate and similar programs. During these programs, students donate meal swipes, eat a traditional meal of beans and rice, and hear from Weaver about AFCA’s critical work. AFCA also hosts service trips to Africa, in which students, faculty, and staff can participate. With such a variety of options, students can make a global impact locally or on another continent.

*Service times may be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through service at The Caring Cupboard, LVC students serve local families and learn about food insecurity. The LVC campus community hosts food drives several times a year to support The Caring Cupboard.

The Caring Cupboard

Food insecurity is a serious, yet often hidden problem across the United States. Poverty, disability, and unemployment, among many other factors, can make setting food on the table difficult. People who identify as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), or “the working poor,” must often decide between dinner and other necessities such as electricity and rent. Palmyra, located just a few minutes from LVC, is no exception to this reality. The Caring Cupboard seeks to address this basic need by providing food to individuals and families with dignity and respect. Additionally, once a month, the organization offers baby and personal care items.

Asking for help can be difficult for many people. The cultural expectation of success can hinder the Caring Cupboard’s outreach. However, since its inception in 2006, the organization has grown more than 800% in the number of families it serves. Just last year, The Caring Cupboard served more than 25,000 people. Shila Ulrich ’05, executive director, attributes this growth to an increase in community trust. Donors, volunteers, and recipients share a common dignity and respect, which means healthier outcomes for the community.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also challenged the Caring Cupboard since food insecurity has increased dramatically. Typically, an average of 12 new families receives assistance from the organization each month. That number increased to 39 in March 2020 and 50 in April 2020. In addition to increasing capacity, The Caring Cupboard created a new food delivery system in collaboration with Hershey Medical Center and the WellSpan Philhaven ACT program. Despite these new challenges, Ulrich believes the organization will continue to find a way to provide food and hope to the community.

LVC students, faculty, and staff can volunteer at the Caring Cupboard on the fourth Saturday of each month.* They can also visit the organization to learn more about food insecurity and become an advocate for the cause. Finally, food drives and donations are always appreciated. The Caring Cupboard is proud to be “a piece of the fabric of a healthy community” and offer LVC students and staff opportunities to serve in their community.

*Service times may be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through volunteerism with Habitat for Humanity, LVC students can change communities, spread hope, and empower others, one home at a time.

About Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity

Many people may think Habitat for Humanity is only about building homes, but the organization’s scope is much broader. Habitat helps people become first-time homeowners and seeks long-term, sustainable solutions to the issues of housing access, poverty, and community degradation. These issues are rooted in historic housing policies, racial and ethnic inequality, and unfair lending practices. The rising cost of homes, coupled with low-income rates, aggravate these problems and make homeownership out of reach for many people.

To address these issues, Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates homes and sells them to low-income individuals and families for zero profit. The organization also acts as a mortgage lender with a zero percent interest rate and an income-based repayment plan. After finishing the application process and being selected, individuals and families must also complete “sweat equity” hours. They attend financial seminars, homeownership workshops, and aid in the construction of their new home.

Lebanon’s housing access needs are exceptionally high, as there is urban and rural poverty, and the housing stock is much older. The cost of updating these older houses is a challenge faced by the Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity, as is the time it takes to build or renovate. Despite these challenges, the local Habitat staff, along with more than 1,000 volunteers, complete three to six houses a year. Jacquie Morges, the volunteer manager of the Lancaster Lebanon Habitat, says completing a house and giving the family the keys is one of the greatest joys of her job. She loves to see the immediate impact homeownership can have on the families and community.

There is much that needs to be done, with 13 families still waiting for homes. LVC students can volunteer every third Saturday of the month* at the Cumberland Street project in Lebanon by registering on Redbook. Additionally, Morges encourages students to advocate and spread awareness about housing access and learn about the problem and ways to address it. Through volunteerism with the Lancaster Lebanon Habitat for Humanity, everyone can change communities, spread hope, and empower others, one home at a time.

*Service times may be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

LVC students serve at Mission Central HUB Cleona to prepare relief kits to people experiencing poverty or disasters.

About Mission Central HUB Cleona

Mission Central’s motto, “Connecting God’s resources with human need,” best explains the work of the organization. With HUBs all across the Northeast, Mission Central seeks to fulfill needs in communities in the United States by distributing resources and relief kits to people experiencing poverty, or after disasters, such as fires. Resources include medical supplies, personal hygiene items, and school supplies. Through a partnership with the American Foundation for Children with AIDS, relief and maternity kits are also sent to Africa.

In addition to these national efforts, the Mission Central HUB in Cleona supports the Lebanon Rescue Mission and Lebanon County Christian Ministries. The Cleona location also recently started a new program supporting the homeless in the local community by providing them a place to shower and a shower kit.

Jeanne Earnshaw ’69, coordinator of Cleona’s HUB, enjoys the intergenerational camaraderie among volunteers and community aspect of the organization. She also finds joy in seeing resources connect with those in need of them. Just last year, around 250 volunteers prepared relief kits valued at $138,926. LVC students and community members can get involved by volunteering at work sessions every third Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m., at 29 East Maple Street, Cleona* (in Immanuel United Methodist Church). Students can also help by collecting and donating items or money to stock the relief kits.

*Service times may be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.