Lynchburg residents served in a variety of ways on the home front—working in local industry that supported the war, buying war bonds called “Liberty Bonds”, and growing “Liberty Gardens”.  The women of the Hill City saw that thousands of troops on the way to war were coming through Lynchburg via train.  A group of women led by Mrs. Charles MacLeod began to take refreshments to the railroad depots to hand to the soldiers on the troop trains. What started as an informal act of kindness soon grew to a formal Red Cross canteen at Kemper Station that served thousands of soldiers between 1917 and 1918. Lynchburg's canteen was just one of 700 that operated in the United States and Europe during the war.

The primary mission of the canteen was to provide light refreshments to troops traveling on the rails and provide moral support to the men. In addition to sandwiches, coffee, and tea, many men were provided with fruit, cakes, candy, and cigarettes. If a request was made in advance, Lynchburg's Red Cross members did their best to fulfill the need. On one occasion, the ladies arranged for 150 soldiers to get showers at the YMCA and local colleges by having a fleet of automobiles on hand to transport them. Due to its reputation for hospitality, Lynchburg was given the nickname “Lunchburg.”