Volunteers come out in force to Love Buena Park

It’s believed that the phrase, “May the Fourth be with you” dates back to May 4, 1979, the day Margaret Thatcher took office as Prime Minister in England, and two years after the release of the first Star Wars film and the statement, “May the Force be with you.” Thatcher’s political party placed a congratulatory ad in a London newspaper that read, “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie.” It quickly became the unofficial holiday celebrating the Star Wars franchise as a pun on a famous line from the movies, May the Force be with you.

Buena Park joined in the May 4th fun for their ‘fourth’ annual Love Buena Park event. Volunteers signed in for the day at The Source where they received a free t-shirt commemorating the day. “The service is STRONG with this one” was worn by most of the 600 volunteers who came out to help.

Twenty-seven projects were selected for the day which included cleaning up, making repairs and painting at various neighborhood locations; creating care packages, making blankets for the homeless and washing police cars, which is always a favorite. According to Don Harbert, Pastor of the Way Fellowship, “It was a great event. We had more than 600 volunteers doing 27 projects, which comes out to 2,400 plus hours of labor. If you average that at $15 an hour, it comes out to $36,000 worth of labor put back into the city.” Harbert was one of the original Love Buena Park organizers with Police Chief Corey Sianez, aided by other local churches and businesses.

The mission of the event is to demonstrate kindness, meet the needs of the community and impacts lives by working together.

There is a project for everyone, regardless of any particular situation, which was demonstrated by the number of children who enthusiastically helped on many projects, including the washing of police cars. Or, the gentleman who acted as a project coordinator while on a scooter. Gina Rose, who works at City Hall, is pregnant with a due date of May 20, still found a place to volunteer handing out t-shirts. Susan Stokes, was the project coordinator for the homeless blankets, a project that allowed volunteers to assist in cutting material or sitting and tying fleece blankets. “We were able to complete 108 blankets this year, which is 35 more than were done last year. There were approximately 50 volunteers helping out,” said Stokes. “Even with such a large group, everyone worked well together.” Other groups put together 300 care packages for the community.

In an email sent out to registered participants, the City thanked each for volunteering. “Whether you volunteered by beautifying a school, helping out your neighborhood, painting a church, being part of the set-up team or any of our other projects, we couldn’t have done this without you. We hope you enjoyed seeing the community come together as much as we did. You proved that the service is strong in Buena Park!”

Although this was the fourth year for the Love Buena Park event, volunteerism has always been strong in the city. Local churches and other organizations have set aside annual volunteer days for at least the last 26-years to help out where needed. Pictures of the event can be found on the City of Buena Park’s FaceBook page.