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Why Love Oakdale?
Reporter’s Notebook 5-3-23

I’ve learned a lot this year and it’s only the start of May.

This lesson, however, is timely so it seemed appropriate to share. It also comes at the hands of a featured story on Love Oakdale and Director Lisa Kjeldgaard, so I just had to get to work on this.

This past Saturday, April 29, I had the honor of being assigned to cover the Love Oakdale event. Truth be told, I wasn’t feeling a hundred percent that morning and had it not been for the Christmas morning energy of my 15-year-old and her servant heart, I may have called for back-up.

But show up I did and to say the energy healed all wounds would be a bit of an overstatement; the countless hugs, smiles and joy floating all around, however, did serve as one heck of a bandage.

Now not to worry, I’m not going to fill this column space with whining and remedies, we all have plenty of that on our own. No, for this column space, I’m actually going to out myself on something bigger in hopes that it enlightens yet another.

I’ve never been a big fan (personally speaking) of Love Oakdale.

Okay, okay, pick up your chin and keep reading. I outed myself so now please let me explain.

The premise behind Love Oakdale has been lost on me for quite some time … until this year.

My daughter, now she’s a different story. She’s one of the first to sign up and loves everything about this event. Believe it or not she gets her servant’s heart from her mama, which I inherited from my grandmother. As a lady who never had much financially speaking, my grandmother would always say she gave what she could; her time.

Love Oakdale, however, has always had me pondering, as I never understood taking time from our lives to care for this jewel of a town for just one day. In the time that I’ve called Oakdale home, I’ve done my fair share of volunteering, as well as giving and have always felt it should be something we always try and do.

Then came Lisa. Not to discredit any of the Love Oakdale Directors before her, I just happened to get honest with her one day last summer on my confusion as well as disappointment. I mean, the notion of community members waiting for one given day to do what’s right simply boggled my mind.

Again … please withhold judgement. I won’t now nor ever use this space to list off what I’ve done (personally) for the community. The intent here is purely educational.

Lisa was so kind at the time to share with me that while in many communities that’s how it may seem, it’s not how it’s intended. Further sharing the City of Waterford and the successes of their Love Waterford organization.

As the Director and a passionate go getter, she further enlightened me on what the last Saturday of April truly is; a citywide volunteer day. Love Oakdale, however, under her watch has become much more. Now serving as a liaison between people with a need and people with something to give, be it time, backpacks, turkeys, you name it. They simply call Lisa and she makes connections.

She also informed me (during that summer time talk), that many of the Love Oakdale volunteer day volunteers build relationships with those they help and maintain contact with them throughout the year. How cool is that?

Now this to me sounds like an Oakdale kinda thing. Oakdale as I know it, has never been a one and done town. Oakdale steps up when called, rolls up sleeves when necessary and shines like no other place I’ve ever lived. So how fitting is a non-profit, as well as event deemed “Love Oakdale.”

Making it all the better is the true feeling of family and community we are able to feel on that one designated day at the end of April. The buzz in the air undeniable, the genuine feel of love for one another something special all on its own.

In short and as I’ve said multiple times, I love this town and this community and now thanks to the efforts of Lisa Kjeldgaard and her small army, I absolutely love Love Oakdale. Thank you, friend. Cheers.


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 209-847-3021.