RIPON — Love Ripon may just be the twice-a-year events that the community can support.
The Ripon City Council members backed the two special days set aside for churches, service organizations, and all willing bodies to donate their time to help or spruce up the town by painting the gazebo, picking up trash, conducting food drives, or volunteering at the recycling center, to name a few.
They did so Tuesday by unanimously voting to waive the facility-use fees for both the Community Center and the amphitheater at the Mistlin Sports Complex.
“This is a great program,” said Councilman Dean Uecker of Love Ripon.
Love Ripon, incidentally, was made possible by the success of Love Modesto, which started in 2007 in response to the “worst cities in America” lists.
Organizers there spent time dreaming and planning this event that by March 7, 2009, they had over 1,200 people show their love for Modesto by doing various practical jobs around town.
Since then, Love Ceres, Love Escalon, and Love Riverbank have joined in this endeavor. All told, over 11,000 people from those communities have put in over 38,500 hours since 2011. Not only have they offered food for the hungry, but some have visited convalescent homes, donated blood, constructed a house for Habitat for Humanity, and worked at city parks.
Love Ripon promises to do much of the same, according to Councilman Chuck Winn.
A 9 a.m. kickoff rally is planned for Saturday, April 28, at the Community Center.
From there, project leaders will meet with their teams and head out by assisting the city, schools, or those in need; trash clean up; or provide encouragement at places such as Bethany Homes, for example.
The inaugural Ripon Love is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., concluding at the amphitheater.
The second one is planned for Sept. 29, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
“I think it will be something that most people can (look to) volunteering three and half hours of their time, twice a year,” Winn said.
More information can be obtained by logging on to www.loveripon.com.