For the past several years churches within the Riverbank community have been sponsoring the Love Riverbank campaign. Centro Biblico Apostolico has taken on the task to sponsor the event and leading the cause for 2017 was David Rodriguez. Volunteers met at the Community Center on Saturday morning. April 29 where Mayor Richard O’Brien began the rally and people joined their specific projects. There was coffee delivered by City Manager Sean Scully who also participated in the event. Riverbank Police Services Chief Erin Kiely spent some time at the event where he participated in an alley cleanup project with other volunteers. Councilmember Darlene Barber Martinez delivered baked goods to public service staff like those working at the post office, Riverbank Police Services, City of Riverbank, with some of the treats donated by Central Valley Community Resources and Riverbank Federated Women’s Club.
There was also water, donuts, and other items available for participants as well as supplies for the projects provided by Rodriguez, the church and a few other community members.
Members from One Church on Oakdale Road participated in the event for the first time and worked on some of the alley projects off of Roselle Avenue. Shelia Annis, Administrator for One Church is a Modesto resident; however, she was excited to serve the Riverbank community. The alley cleanup included picking up trash, weed eating, and anything else that made it look well-manicured.
“Some of us live here and some of us don’t but this is where our church is,” stated Annis. “This is one way to show the city that we care about where we go to church. Some of the kids are participating and that is really important.”
There were others that participated in the Love Riverbank event for the first time like Riverbank residents Doug Winfrey, daughter Jessica, her husband Darren Blakely and their children, along with family friend Mathew Nisperos. Jessica also baked for the public servants project and the entire family helped with the senior assistance projects. They had a few senior residents on the list that had requested trash pickup, landscaping, and anything else that may have been needed.
“The kids need to know that you have to give back too, you can’t always just get what you want,” said Jessica regarding having her kids out there volunteering.
Rodriguez expressed that there were approximately 40 church members on hand to volunteer and about 100 people total that showed up to help beautify Riverbank during the Saturday of service.
Along with church members from Centro Biblico Apostolico and One Church there were church members from Covenant Grove, Living Grace, and Community Praise Tabernacle that volunteered for the event.
“What we want to do is get other churches involved,” added Rodriguez. “If we could add one church every year we could have this grow.
“Hopefully next year we can get an earlier start, organize ourselves better and get more sponsors.”