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California Church Aids City Parks


Cuts in city spending became an opportunity to serve for Almond Valley Christian Reformed Church in Ripon, Calif.

When the city cut back on maintaining a number of local parks, Dusty Hoekstra, director of ministries and community outreach for Almond Valley, saw a chance to reach out to the community.

“We were looking to get better connected with our city and community,” said Hoekstra.

Volunteers from the church have taken over the maintenance of two parks.

Each week the church is in charge of trash pick-up, grass cutting and edging, weed control, and leaf removal. The city provides green recycling cans, but rakes, mowers, edgers, and leaf blowers all come from church members.

“We've been doing this for about eight months with about 40 different people participating, families with infants all the way up to members in their 70s. The Cadets did it as a group as well,” said Hoekstra.

“Virtually every time that we're out there, there is at least one person passing through the park who stops and asks us who we are and why we’re doing this. As Christians, we are called to do and be. The community sees us ‘doing’ and invites us to share why we are ‘being,’” said Hoekstra.

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