Cities were celebrated throughout the area in different ways this past Saturday, April 24 and Love Riverbank was revived once again by Riverbank City Councilmember Rachel Hernandez. With an effort to bring it back despite the challenges of the pandemic, Hernandez made it a priority to do something positive for the community.
“I feel people appreciated my effort to bring back Love Riverbank this year,” said Hernandez. “Overall, I wanted to bring people together and impact downtown ... I feel I ignited that fire. Many people stepped up however they could and I think there’s a great foundation for next year.”
The Love Our Cities campaign usually consists of numerous volunteers that sign up for projects around the city which includes appreciation of public servants. This year Hernandez focused on three projects: Love Teachers; Love Police, Fire and Postal; and Love Small Business.
“With all the changes this year, I think the community appreciated an easy yet impactful way to show their love for public servants and small businesses,” added Hernandez. “Love Riverbank brings people together. I think it’s important to keep it alive so that we continue to uplift and learn from each other.”
The effort began on April 9 with boxes placed at Starbucks and Home Depot where people dropped off thank you cards for the different public services. There were over 350 appreciation cards received.
On Friday, April 23 Hernandez, Riverbank Unified School District Superintendent Christine Facella, and City staff member Gaby Hernandez traveled to each school site within the RUSD and dropped off goodies and cards. There were enough cards contributed by the community that each teacher in the district received one card each along with Rodin Ranch nuts.
Councilmembers, Home Depot Managers, and Chamber representatives on Saturday visited Riverbank Police Services, Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District, and the Riverbank Post Office delivering each office over 60 cards, a large Rodin Ranch gift basket and merchandise from Starbucks.
“We Love Riverbank,” expressed Police Chief Ed Ridenour. “On Saturday morning, we received a visit from our City leadership along with community members who dropped off a care package for our staff. The most exciting thing we received were the 50 or so hand written thank you cards from children and residents across town. All of our staff is extremely thankful for the generous support of the community. It is great to know how loved we are by those we serve. We truly enjoy the great partnership we have with our community. Our staff has been reading all the cards which bring smiles to our faces. We want to say Thank You to our community and we appreciate their tremendous support.”
The efforts may have seemed minimal for this year’s Love campaign as there were no physical beautification projects but the sentiment was huge and the appreciation was shown and love was shared and spread throughout the community.
The project for Love Small Business had a focus on the RAD (Relief Across Downtown) card program which spurt growth.
“Love Small Business was an important aspect this year,” remarked Hernandez. “With advocacy and education, I think the RAD Card is growing in popularity when it was barely known just a couple months ago.”
For next year’s event Hernandez has high hopes to gather a full committee to help plan and organize Love Riverbank.
“I plan to help lead Love Riverbank next year with a bigger crew,” noted Hernandez. “I think keeping a theme and a focus on specific projects will make the biggest impact in our city.”