A small army of close to 250 people embarked on multiple projects throughout the City of Oakdale on Saturday, April 21. Their weapons of choice: shovels, hoes, spades, gloves and garbage bags as participants of the Love Oakdale event.
Love Oakdale is a volunteer movement initiated through Love Our Cities. This year’s key volunteers, as well as event, was spearheaded by Gina McCarty of Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. (PRMI). McCarty, who has volunteered in past years, noted her pleasure with the turnout as well as completion of the 25 Love Oakdale projects.
“I was really excited because I felt we may have lost some momentum from not having it,” Mc Carty shared, stating that due to lack of leadership Love Oakdale was not hosted in 2017. “So I was really excited by the turnout.”
The group in its entirety gathered at Oakdale Community Park early Saturday morning for an initial kickoff and rally. Volunteers were treated to donuts and refreshments, as well as checked in and matched up with other volunteers. McCarty shared close to a dozen volunteers signed up the morning of the event, while the others pre-registered.
One such ‘day of’ volunteer was a mom who showed up, carting along two of the event’s youngest volunteers, with an infant strapped to her chest and a toddler at her side.
“I was so inspired by her,” Mc Carty shared, noting the mother’s smile as she worked with her two young children. “She was so happy just to be a part of it.”
A total of five churches participated in the event this year, an increase which had a notable impact as well as an effect on McCarty.
“For some reason it seems it’s been hard to get churches to participate,” she said of prior years. “The River has always participated and been a sponsor. This is the first year we had four (additional) churches be a part of it; that was huge. I feel like we put together a great team.”
Another benefit, some of the funds were provided by the churches taking part.
“All the projects taken on by the churches, they took on the expense as well,” explained McCarty. “We could not have completed all the projects had we not had all the church support.”
According to McCarty, the goal is to not take on any projects that day which will stretch longer than beyond noon. A few of this year’s projects extended beyond that completion time, she admitted, but with no complaints from the volunteers.
“I’m super passionate about this project,” McCarty said. “This is something I don’t think I’ll ever not be a part of.”
For information on this year’s and future events visit www.loveourcities.org or the Love Oakdale Facebook page.