Student Doing Community Service Work with Children

Social Justice & Advocacy

Our Approach

McKendree University's approach to service is a service that does justice. We define charity, volunteerism, and service differently, with the hope or working towards service as defined below. We acknowledge that charity and volunteerism are forms of good, yet consistently seek to understand how to best serve our communities while ensuring to give dignity and justice to all.


Charity is the act of raising or collecting money or items of monetary value such as food or clothing and donating them to a person or organization. Similarly, philanthropy is ongoing monetary support of a specific organization or cause. In most cases, neither charity nor philanthropy involve direct service with those being served and has little academic value.

Christmas presents for children living in poverty or giving canned goods to the local food pantry constitute as examples of charity whereas philanthropy is a type of charity typically done by a group to provide monetary assistance to an organization or cause. Charity and philanthropy can be linked to volunteerism when one introduces a time commitment for a project in addition to monetary donations. Charity and Philanthropy are both works from the heart and a step in the direction of service. It is important though, to question agency and community needs before collecting to ensure the collections are not creating the opposite of the intention


Volunteerism is another work from the heart through the act of devoting one’s time or talents to a worthy non-for-profit organization for free. Volunteerism consists of projects that are completed in the short term, and those participating are not necessarily involved in understanding or solving social issues. Volunteerism is a wonderful opportunity and helps communities, but lacks some of the opportunities for personal growth that service offers.

Events like Into the Streets Day of Service, Trick or Treat for Canned Goods, and Special Olympics are examples of one time volunteer events that lack a long term commitment and/or a critical look at the social problems facing a population or community. Continued volunteerism has the potential to grow into meaningful service.


Service is ongoing volunteerism that focuses on understanding and actively participating in alleviating long term social issues. Those who participate in service are fully engaged with their communities and surrounding areas; through this engagement and continued analysis of self and society, mutual relationships are built and provide learning opportunities and dignity for all involved. Through service, students allow their hearts be touched which in turn challenges them to change through seeing the harsh reality of injustices people face. In this process, students begin to develop an understanding of other realities and critically respond to social issues, developing them into socially responsible global citizens.

Service offers the greatest range for personal growth and academic learning and therefore prepares students for leadership roles in society by creating a broader worldview, enriching ones purpose, engaging fully with community and continuing to learn. A regular time commitment at weekly volunteer programs paired with continued learning and reflection to understand and alleviate social issues associated with the population or geographical region being serviced is an example of how one develops a habit of service. True service should lead to solidarity with communities.

Ongoing Service & Events

As part of our dedication in serving the community and working toward social justice, students have the opportunity to serve our local community through weekly planned service, personalize service sites, and special events. Our special events work to educate the McKendree Community about social injustices and motivate them to work for the common good.

Additionally, the CCS works with faculty to build courses incorporating Service-Learning to help students understand and reflect upon their role in society and how the service they complete relates to their courses, careers and the larger society.

If you have an event that you would like to plan that addresses a social justice issue, please visit the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service to discuss the possibility.

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Immersion Trips

Alongside the Center for Faith & Spirituality, the LHCCS coordinates immersion trips.  In the past few years we have been to Nicaragua twice, Memphis, and the US-Mexico Boarder.  In Nicaragua we learn about history and culture, meet with the Youth Network Against Violence, tour a sweatshop, and aid in service projects.  In Memphis, we visit the Civil Rights Museum, volunteer with homeless ministry programs, attend a Civil Rights Tour of Memphis, and much more.  At the US-Mexico Boarder, we learn about boarder history, realities of migrants, walk along the desert trail, attend a court trial, and spend time visiting migrants in shelters in Mexico. Please see videos on the LHCCS landing page or for more information contact the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service. If interested in our trip to Arizona, please use the "get involved" button and fill out the application forms.

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Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week: November 8th-14th, 2020


Mass with Center for Faith and Spirituality, Sunday, November 8th

Where: Bothwell Chapel

What: Join us for a special mass service with a homily and special prayer around hunger and homelessness to lift up those who are struggling.

When: 6:00 PM


Faculty Fashion Show, Monday, November 9th

Where: Ames Dining Hall

What: Check out some of your favorite faculty and staff while they strut the walkways of Ames Dining Hall sporting this season's latest.  Student organizations are encouraged to support a faculty member.  Each outfit is then donated to a local shelter as a full set.

When: 12:00 PM


Think Inside the Box: Factors of Homelessness, Tuesday, November 10th

Where: Outside The Lair

What: Create "care bags" for personal distribution, participate in competitive and educational games, and learn about the factors that force cause individuals into becoming homeless, such as mental health.  Join us on the Quad for a night full of fun events that shed light on the serious issue of homelessness.

When: 6:00 PM


Empty Bowls, Wednesday, November 11th

Where: 1828 Cafe

What: Purchase a handmade ceramic bowl and some delicious donated soup.  Spend your evening learning about innovative ways to fight hunger on a local level!  All proceeds go to The Bearcat Pantry. Special thanks to Art Club and individual donors for assistance with ceramics.

When: Soup is served 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM; Speaker starts at Noon


Service Saturday at Lebanon Food Pantry, Saturday, November 14th

Where: Lebanon Food Pantry

What: Spend a Saturday in service, and assist the Lebanon Matthew 25:40 Ministries in sorting food that the Boy Scouts drop off! Sign up outside the LHCCS to reserve a space.

When: 9:00-12:00 PM