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Love Fullerton 2015

Love Fullerton 2015

It was a day that relied on teamwork, dedication and most of all, a sense of community.

On Saturday, May 9, the second-annual "Love Fullerton" citywide service day proved to be a huge success. Upwards of 3,000 people gathered to give back to their community, choosing from more than 50 service projects that ranged from sprucing up local schools to donating blood and feeding the homeless.

Love Fullerton is a partnership of area churches, the City of Fullerton, the police department, local business and service organizations, education and local residents - all coming together to make Fullerton a better place.

“The Power of Love,” by Huey Lewis and the News, was blasting in the background as volunteers arrived around 8 a.m. The atmosphere was electric as volunteers began lining up to choose a service project and receive their official “Love Fullerton” T-shirt.

Fullerton Police Department officers were on site to provide community education on law enforcement practices. Kids and their parents had the rare opportunity to pet the brave dogs of the FPD’s K-9 units, while a SWAT vehicle sat nearby, its doors open to give volunteers a hands-on experience in the state-of-the-art interior.

Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes, a co-organizer of Love Fullerton with Jay Williams, a pastor at First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, commented as he was passing out T-shirts to volunteers: “This is beyond the police department --- it’s where we can put on display the generosity of this community of amazing individuals that live, work and play here.”

As the morning progressed, dedicated individuals evolved into groups as participants geared up to begin their service project.

Kristy, a volunteer who brought her young children to the event, showed her civic pride as she assisted other volunteers as they registered.

“This is a great event because it’s fun for the whole family,” she said. “I have brought my kids the past two years. It’s a wonderful opportunity to teach young children the value of giving back to the community.”

Due to the drought and new water conservation laws, one of this year’s most popular service projects involved making the grounds of Fullerton City Hall drought tolerant. Volunteers picked up shovels and rakes, removing yards of thirsty turf and replacing it with low-maintenance, drought resistant landscaping.

One of the volunteers breaking a sweat was Fullerton resident John Slope.

Surveying results of the day’s work, he said: “I benefit from building to make the community a better place. It’s amazing seeing all of these people go out of their routine and beyond their normal barriers to come together for a common purpose.

“Plus, in a setting like this, it’s fun getting your hands dirty.”

Whether volunteers spent the morning painting over graffiti on the Juanita Cooke Trail, or playing board games with residents of a senior center, the mood was one of giving back to others and making Fullerton a better place to live.