Volunteers Do Day-Long Work Project to Love Lodi

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The following was originally featured on The Salvation Army Western Territory’s Blog “Expect Change” and was contributed by Kathy Lovin of The Salvation Army Western Territory.

A young volunteer polishes The Salvation Army conference table at Love Lodi. Photo by Syd Fong

Do you love your city? I mean, really love your city?

Captains Martin and Tory Ross found a way to do just that. They’re Salvation Army officers who served in communities like Compton and Modesto, California. Now they’re in Lodi and they recently took on a project known as Love Lodi.

Back when they were in Modesto, California they did a Love Modesto project and got hooked on the concept of engaging the whole community – wealthy, struggling and those in between – to care for their neighbors. The success of Love Modesto in 2007 kicked off a Love Our Cities movement that’s now spread to more than 50 other communities in California.

“The Salvation Army may not have the money to paint schools or plant a community garden, but we have plenty of time and talent we can use to get it done,” said Captain Martin.

So when a representative of the Love Modesto event came to a pastor’s meeting in Lodi, Captain Martin spoke from his heart and his experience to endorse the project. Not surprisingly, he and wife Captain Tory, their assistant Saul Smoak, and board member Pat Fehling took charge of Love Lodi. They organized local churches, volunteers, community groups and others interested in loving their city for a day-long service project on April 12, 2014.

Volunteers cleaned up alleys, replaced smoke detectors, painted the fire station, did lawn care, fed homeless people, returned shopping carts, donated blood and much more.

Click on the arrow to view this beautiful slideshow of images by Syd Fong:

“This event makes me so proud to be in my town,” said Steve Schwabauer, City of Lodi Interim City Manager. “This is really just the epitome of what this city is all about and what it does to care for itself. I greatly appreciate Salvation Army’s effort for making these types of events happen.”

“My number one reason for doing this project is that every community has the proverbial “railroad tracks” which separate folks from one another. We have that here too, but Love Lodi fosters unity and community and brings us together to be one Lodi,” says Captain Martin.

He prays that Salvation Army units all over the US will see the Love Our Cities model as a way of continuing to impact their own city and spark community involvement.

If you’d like to know more about Love Our Cities, please click here to visit the website.

If you’d like to email Captain Martin to find out more about starting a Love Our Cities project in your city, please click here.