Love Our Cities began out of the success of Love Modesto. Love Modesto started in 2007 at Big Valley Grace Community Church in Modesto, California with two questions:
- Why is our city on lists of the “worst cities in America”?
- If our church were to suddenly disappear from the Modesto area, would anyone even care or notice?
We did not know the answers to these questions, but we knew we were called to love Modesto.
With a lot of dreaming and planning came our first Love Modesto on March 7, 2009. We were hoping for 100 people and more than 1,200 people showed up to love our city in practical ways. We’ve done this every year since then and have helped more than 100 cities do the same.
Over 239,000 people have been involved … young, old, abled, disabled; people from a church or no church at all. Around 1 million volunteer hours have been donated – this is over $32 million dollars in service (independentsector.org) that we’ve given to our communities!
At these community-wide volunteer days, people engage in a variety of projects, including appreciating public servants, visiting convalescent homes, donating blood, building a house with Habitat for Humanity, and working in city parks and schools, among other opportunities.
After the first couple of years of these volunteer days, we were realizing that more sustainable solutions were needed in order to see our cities transformed.
Our efforts evolved from beyond a day to championing ongoing volunteerism, collaboration among leaders and initiating the efforts of Love Our Neighbors, Love Our Schools, Love Our Kids and Love Our Seniors.
So many amazing stories have emerged from Love Our Cities, but perhaps the greatest stories are of the thousands who continue to volunteer regularly with organizations and areas they served. This is our hope and prayer…renewed pride in our cities, ongoing volunteerism and communities transformed.