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California Churches Love Their Cities

California Churches Love Their Cities
Volunteers re-plant in the green spaces along Escalon’s downtown boulevards.

On Saturday, April 24, volunteers from Escalon (Calif.) Christian Reformed Church joined forces with volunteers from Heritage Church, Trinity Church, and Escalon Kiwanis to serve and love their city. This event was part of a larger day of service in the area. Dozens of churches across multiple cities also participated in various Love Our City events on the same day.

Brittany Doornenbal, a member of Escalon CRC and coordinator for Love Escalon, said the effort got a lot of attention. “There have been signs all over the cities in the area for some time now; it would be hard not to know about what is happening”.

Love Escalon’s projects included planting new plants along downtown boulevards, doing yard work at a local trailer park, and picking up trash and cleaning up the main street park. In all, Doornenbal said about 100 volunteers participated in the Love Escalon events—a scaling-back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doornenbal said in previous years organizers would host large kick-off and wrap-up rallies for the volunteers, but this year volunteers met in smaller groups, directly at the project sites, in order to follow COVID-19 distancing protocols.

The annual event has grown and waned over the years, Doornenbal said, having popularity around 2010, a few years of lull and then picking back up again in 2017. In 2020, the Love Escalon event was canceled because of COVID-19.

“It's exciting to meet new people every year and feel more connected to our community,” Doornenbal said. The principle behind Love Escalon and the larger Love Our City events is to “live a life of love” based on 2 John 6. “Doing acts of service in the community is a great way to get people to talk to you,” said Doornebal. “The most common questions we get is ‘Why are you doing this?’ We love to answer that question.”

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