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Lodi gets some Love: Annual day of service to city is this weekend

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Posted: Monday, April 24, 2017 7:30 am

The third annual Love Lodi will begin with a rally at 9 a.m. April 29. Groups will gather at Hale Park before splitting up to clean up trash, paint, make repairs, bring joy to seniors and citizens with disabilities, and plenty of other activities throughout the city.

A neighborhood party in the park will welcome back tired volunteers as they return to reflect on their day of good deeds.

Last year, more than 400 Lodians joined in the day of service and fun, up from 100 the first year. Organizers are hoping to double that number.

Want to join in the fun?

Pastor Glen Barnes, First Baptist Church of Lodi

“Love Lodi began with churches saying, ‘How can we make a difference in our community?’” Barnes said.

One of the service day’s founders, Barnes has been thrilled to watch the day grow over the past couple of years.

“It’s great to see people care that much about serving their community,” he said. “It’s been exciting to see the creativity of people coming up with and leading projects.”

He couldn’t share which of the projects — ranging from landscaping work to painting to “nuts and bolts” projects like fence and deck repair — he was most excited about.

“That’s like asking which child you like the best,” he joked.

He does hope folks will come out to the neighborhood party at Hale Park, though. There will be projects there that even preschoolers can do, along with games, a health fair, carnival games and fun activities.

Not sure how to get involved? Head to the website: www.lovelodi.org.

“Get online, find the one that seems interesting ... and give it a try,” Barnes said.

Mayor Doug Kuehne

Lodi’s mayor was disappointed that a trip to speak to lawmakers on San Joaquin County’s behalf will keep him from digging into a project this year. However, he changed his flight so he’d at least be able to thank volunteers in person during the kickoff rally in Hale Park.

“I’m excited about it. They have over 60 projects or so that they’re doing. We’re looking to get a thousand volunteers,” he said.

Last year, he had a great time volunteering at the Lodi Lake cleanup, he said.

While he can’t stay to help in person, Kuehne was pleased to share that his Love Your Block campaign will kick off with work at the new pollinator garden on the corner of Elm and Main streets. And staff from several city departments will be joining in the service projects, he added.

“I’m very excited about what’s happening in Lodi,” he said.

Jeff Hood, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services

When asked how he felt about the service day, Hood was enthusiastic.

“It’s awesome!” he said. “When you think about the number of hours that people put in — it makes a huge difference for us.”

The parks department has been short of staff in recent years, so the service day goes a long way to keeping city parks clean and in good repair, Hood said.

“Keeping up with just the mowing is challenging, much less pruning shrubs and pulling weeds,” he said.

Having volunteers willing to do everything from raking bark to repairing softball diamonds and painting dugouts is an enormous help, he said.

“It’s so exciting to see the outpouring of volunteerism in Lodi, especially when people know it’s to benefit our parks,” he said.

Cheryl Francis, Grace and Mercy Charitable Foundation

Volunteers have promised to help remove and replace the deck at Grace and Mercy Charitable Foundation — which also serves as the entrance for Lodi residents who rely on walkers and wheelchairs.

Due to the structure’s age, it’s been out of use, Francis said.

“There has been limited access to the building,” she said.

She’s excited that seniors and people with disabilities will be able to access the charity’s services.

She’s also thrilled that so many people are volunteering their time and donating to Lodi’s nonprofit organizations for Love Lodi. It shows that they care about the work nonprofits do in the city.

“We’re just overjoyed with the fact that they’re coming out,” Francis said.

Kathy Grant, City of Lodi Watershed Education Coordinator

“There’s a lot going on!” Grant said of the service day.

She will be organizing one of several projects at Lodi Lake Park.

“It’s a Coastal Cleanup-type work day,” she said. “(In a second project) the Discovery Center team is going to be handling the cleanup inside and outside, kind of a spring cleaning.”

Starbucks and Constellation Brands will both be sending volunteers, and Starbucks will provide coffee at the lake. Constellation Brands is also sponsoring the Canoemobile, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wilderness Inquiry staff will provide tours of the lake on 24-foot canoes. The Canoemobile is free, but requires a waiver, and minors must have a parent’s signature.

Grant hopes the event will see the same massive turnout it has over the past few years, rain or shine. She hopes volunteers will join the other projects around the city that day, too.

“This is a watershed moment. There’s a lot of energy coming together,” she said.

Several of Saturday’s projects have filled up, but there are still plenty of spots available for anyone who wants to volunteer:

Adopt a Highway

Help to clean up Highway 99 between Turner Road and Kettleman Lane. Meet at Hale Park to review safety procedures before the cleanup. 16 spots open.

Blakely Park Projects

Separate projects at Blakely Park will include replacing the backstop, weeding and tidying planters in the pool area, and removing old playground equipment from the Boys and Girls Club. Family friendly. A total of 18 spots open.

Building Blocks Cleanup and Fence Repair

The Victor-based ministry needs help to clean up storm damage and repair broken fences and a wall. 17 spots open.

Clearing Obstructions Blocking Road Signs

Bring pruning shears and meet at Hale Park. Groups will go around the city to clear tree and shrub branches obstructing traffic signs. 11 spots open.

East Side Trash Cleanup

A group will drive around the Heritage District to pick up rubbish. A driver with a pickup truck is needed to help haul full trash bags. Family friendly. 12 spots open.

Emerson Park Projects

Various projects will replace sunken pavers around the playground, trim landscaping, weed and remove trash. Family friendly. A total of 18 spots open.

Grace and Mercy Painting, Deck Rebuild and More

Volunteers to help paint and repair the deck, sort donations, clean and more. Family friendly. 17 spots open.

Grape Bowl Field House

Help paint the exterior of the field house, as well as the locker rooms. Family friendly. 15 spots open.

Hospice of San Joaquin

Cleanup to help prepare Sargent Equestrian Center for the annual Kentucky Derby West fundraiser, which supports Hospice of San Joaquin. Family friendly. 23 spots open.

Hutchins Street Square Landscape Project

Cleanup of the median landscaping. All materials will be provided by the city. Family friendly. 9 spots open.

Lawrence Elementary School

Paint the backstop boards of the softball diamonds. 12 spots open.

Prayer Walk

Meet with other Christians for a rally, then walk and pray. Family friendly, encouragement. Hale Park. 13 spots open.

Preschool Art for Seniors

This project, designed for young children, involves making art and putting together packages of cookies. Little kid friendly. Hale Park. 17 spots open.

Pregnancy Resource Center Walk for Life

Raise money to support the Pregnancy Resource Center. Family and little kid friendly. Hutchins Street Square West Park. 10 spots open.

River Cleanup by Kayak or Boat

Clean up areas in Lodi Lake and the adjacent river (depending on conditions) that can't be easily reached by foot. Family friendly. 11 spots open.

Softball Complex Landscaping

Weed and replace wood chips at the landscaping strip on Stockton Street. Family friendly. 24 spots open.

Various Lodi Park Playgrounds

Rake and replace the Fibar playground material at several parks throughout the city. 12 spots open.

Woodbridge Elementary School

General cleaning and basic work. Family friendly. 13 spots open.

Woodbridge Wilderness Area Cleanup

Weeding and general cleanup after the area was flooded by winter storms. Family friendly. 19 spots open.

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