Love your neighbor, Love La Mirada
A day of service allowed members of the community to come together to positively impact local areas. | Alondra Urizar/THE CHIMES
Though it was raining on the early morning of April 30, the clouds parted and 263 members of the local community came together to participate in the Love La Mirada Day of Service.
“I’m not a [person] who’s like you just pray and God answers it but a couple of us got together and were just like, ‘Lord, please open up the skies, just let the sun come through,’ and literally as we stopped blue patches started opening up,” said Greg Stump, pastor at Redeemer Church and co-chairman of Love La Mirada.
Starting around 8 a.m. members of the La Mirada community gathered at La Mirada First Church of the Nazarene to finish registration and serve on one of 19 different projects around the city that the City of La Mirada, in cooperation with Love La Mirada, deemed as as good location to serve. These include parks, youth centers and the Neff House at Neff Park, among a few other locations.
“Our vision statement has three main words: discover, serve, connect. And so serving is obviously what we’re doing at this thing, we want people to be connected so as they’re serving... but the discovery [aspect] is like trying to help people who live here actually get more of a sense of the city, like what’s here,” Stump said.
ONE OF THE MAIN GOALS
Students from Biola attended the event and served at various locations. Emma Bassett, sophomore music education major and member of Redeemer Church, went with a friend to clean the historical Neff house.
“I feel like I do a lot on Biola’s campus and I wanted to do something in the community and then...we just both picked our three top things on the list that they offered of what we should be part of, then we just got put on the historical homes,” Bassett said. “It was just fun to do something for the community and also to be in a historical home because I thought that was beautiful.”
Another Biola student Aili Davenport, junior history secondary education major and member of Anglican Church of the Epiphany, painted bridge rails in Creek Park on the serve day.
“I think it’s really cool that we should care about La Mirada, we should care about the cities we live in and that we should do anything we can to take care of them and make them look better and to help other people care about them and come together and do that,” Davenport said.
According to Stump, one of the main goals of this local movement, stemming from the idea began in Modesto, Calif. in 2007 called Love Our Cities, is to bring together local churches to support their neighbors and communities. This serve day acts as the first major event of the Love La Mirada movement, which will continue through opportunities to support other community members throughout the year.
“...In a sense Love La Mirada kind of confronts the church with two existential questions. One: do we know our neighbor well enough to say that we love our neighbors as Jesus commanded us to?” Stump said. “Then secondly: if the church disappeared, would the city even notice or care?”
Due to her participation in a similar event in Fullerton, Erin Brunelle, head coach of the women’s soccer team, suggested her team become involved in the event.
“I participated in Love Fullerton with my community group and thought it would be great to get our women's soccer team involved in the day of service as well. I encouraged all of our players to get involved, though it wasn't mandatory. Over half of our team volunteered to serve, mostly with Love La Mirada, though one helped at Love Fullerton and another at Love La Habra,” Brunelle said in an email.
a myriad of necessary supplies
Overall, the service event cost approximately $7,200 for painting supplies, cleaning supplies, t-shirts for volunteers and a myriad of other necessary supplies. With a total of $6,500 raised, about half came from churches, $1,200 from an awareness concert and the rest through online donations and sponsors. All of these funds went to the improvement of La Mirada in small but significant ways.
“People may not even notice that you did it, consciously, but you kinda know the good that you did and I think subconsciously they experience [that] things just feel sharper and prettier and nicer here now,” Stump said.