The inaugural Love Fullerton event on May 27 drew more than 2,000 men, women and children eager to roll up their sleeves to help their neighbors and the homeless, as well as sprucing up their hometown’s schools and parks.
Love Fullerton grew out of a conversation and dream to bring the City of Fullerton together, and Police Chief Dan Hughes and Jay Williams, the Compassion and Justice Pastor at EVFree Fullerton worked to make that dream a reality.
“Love Fullerton 2014 was a collaborative effort between the police department, faith community, city government, local businesses, service organizations, non profits, local school district, college and university students and city residents,” Williams said. “They all worked together to make our city a better place to live, work, worship and play.”
Joining Fullerton Police Department and EVFree church in support of the event were 400 local businesses, who placed posters on windows and 400 residents who posted yard signs.
“I have a huge appreciation for the friendship that was developed with Dan Hughes as we worked together to lead the Love Fullerton movement,” Pastor Williams said. “Also his department was a huge help in reaching out to businesses all over the city and posting our fliers. Even more meaningful was their participation in the work projects throughout the city.”
The rally began at the Fullerton Museum Plaza on Wilshire Avenue. After the brief rally, volunteers connected with project leaders for final instructions and headed off to work, taking on 62 projects and providing some 6,900 hours of work, including repairing and restoring 16 benches in Hillcrest Park.
Fullerton High School also got a landscape renovation as community members tore out old trees, filled in a planter with concrete, pulled out old soil in preparation for new soil being delivered, and renewed or restored 10 planters.
Volunteers delivered nearly 100 yards of mulch to schools and parks, visited board and care homes and shelters, donated 70 pints of blood to St Jude Hospital, helped package 20,000 meals, built a home to be delivered to the poor in Mexico, served breakfast to 250 people at a car show at the Muckenthaler center and made 80 blankets for kids attending Royal Family kids camp this summer. To top it off, sponsors donated $50,000 to the Love Fullerton cause.
At 1 p.m., volunteers met at Hillcrest Park and enjoyed a nice lunch provided by the popular restaurant, Heroes Bar and Grill.
Heroes, the police department and EV Free were joined by other sponsors that included St. Joseph and St. Jude Health Systems, Alcoa, St. Paul Lutheran Church and Home Depot.
Pastor Williams hopes to make Love Fullerton a daily thing and expand it beyond the city’s borders.
“The key to its success and long term impact will be the movement from one day of citywide service to ongoing commitment and impact through out the year,” he said. “This is the area we will continue to work on and seek to improve over the course of the year. We hope this movement grows and spreads to other cities in our county.”