Folsom’s 10th annual Community Service Day is a wrap after bringing some 2000 volunteers together Saturday to take on more than 100 different projects that brightened a variety of places and brough smiles to many faces across the city.
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Community Service Day in Folsom is a citywide initiative that unites thousands of volunteers in accomplishing numerous service projects across the city, leaving a positive and lasting impact. Projects range from landscaping, repairing area parks, cleaning various areas, trail improvements, a citywide food drive and much more each year.

During previous nine years of its existence, this event has had a collaborative 19,000 volunteers since its inception 10 years ago, completing over 900 projects for city areas, over 500 exterior projects for area senior and collected over 537,000 pound of food in its citywide food drive on the same day.  But there is still much work to do across the city of Folsom and your participation is needed.

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Most of Saturday’s projects didn’t require extremely professional trade level skills.What they did require was having members of the community be willing to get their hands dirty for a few hours and a desire to make a positive and lasting impact in their community. As the old saying goes, it you build it they will come. The City of Folsom has built Community Service Day into one of the region’s most recognized single day of philanthropic efforts and the members of the community came out in large.
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One of the big aspects of Community Service Day was the citywide food drive that took place. This year, the food drive came around just in time as it was just last week that officials from the Twin Lakes Food Bank in Folsom reported that their shelves were now empty. That is no longer the case as hundreds of volunteers were busting busy in the parking lot of Mount Olive Lutheran Church throughout the day Saturday, sorting the tons of non-perishable foods can came in by the car load of continuous volunteers that were out in the community picking up the bagged donations from residents.

According to Twin Lakes Food Bank Executive Director Lisa Tuter, the demand for food assistance is high in our current economy. Families that were just getting by in previous times are now finding themselves needing to use the food bank’s services to put food on the table. The demand isn’t only due to inflation being felt at the grocery store for residents, it stems from every type of cost a family or an individual incurs, from utility bills to insurance premiums and prices at the pump.

“These are tough times for so many,” said Tuter, who said 55,860 pounds of donated food was collected in total. “We have seen a significant increase in the number of guests coming to the foodbank as a result of inflation. It is imperative that we fill those shelves for those folks. Literally one week before this event our off-site warehouse became empty. We have such a fantastic community, this is really the kick off of food donations that pick up through the rest of the year as we head into the holiday season.”

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The food drive wasn’t the only collection taking place Saturday as numerous stations were collecting donated items that can be put to use by others that may otherwise go without. Items like eyeglasses, pet supplies, apparel, bicycles, hygiene products, yarn and sewing supplies and more was being collected throughout the day in the parking lot of Lakeside Church in Folsom.

Saturday’s event started off with the arrival of the 2000 plus volunteers to Lakeside Shurchn where they received their official event T-shirt complete and commorative gift with the newest event artwork designed by Folsom artist Brian Wallace. Many enjoyed breakfast and enjoyed some encouraging words spoken by a number of community leaders including Community Service Day Chair Justin Raithel, Mayor Rosario Rodriguez, leadership of Lakeside Church, sponsors and more. After gathering for a massive group photo, everyone eagerly headed for the exits and off to their projects in the community.

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David Woodall was one of those volunteers along with his 18-year-old son Nathan. The two have participated in Community Service Day in 8 out of the 10 years it has taken place, only missing two of them due to family travels. This year, they enjoyed making the disc gold course a little bit nicer for residents, helping to spruce up the facility with clean up and fresh mulch aroud the different baskets on the course.

“Folsom is a great community, we are fortunate to call this place home,” said David. “When you live in such a great community like this it’s a great feeling to come out here with everyone and give back to it. A few hours a year is something just about anybody can do for their community and we are proud to do it.”

Among the many projects Saturday was that of beautifying Sutter Middle School. Volunteers armed with garden tools accomplished their mission as they weeded and spread mulch, revitalizing the school’s landscape.

Simultaneously, another group of volunteers took on a similar project at Mangini Ranch Elementary School  Over at Lembi Park, the pickleball court walkway improvement project was in full swing.  Over at The Parkway, volunteers tackled the task of tree at the duck pond. Journey Presbyterian Church was home to another team that was beautifying the campus, replacing landscaping fabric and applying fresh mulch.

At the City Library, volunteers were busy cleaning shelves and dusting books. In various meeting rooms volunteers of all ages were writing letters of encouragement that would be going out in mail and making a brighter day for those going through difficult times and needing some encouragement.

At the Folsom Veteran’s Hall, an assembly line was bustling with activity as volunteers packed, sealed and mail prepped hundreds of care packages to go to troops overseas.

These were just a few of the many projects across the city that took place. In addition to the projects across the many community spaces, there were over 70 Neighbors helping Seniors projects going on, where volunteers helped seniors with various tasks they can’t accomplish themselves.

As the sun dipped below the horizon Saturday, the many volunteers could look back with pride on a day of remarkable achievements in the City of Folsom. The many projects accomplished not only improved the aesthetics of public spaces but also underscored the power of community collaboration. Together, they proved that when a community comes together with a shared goal, incredible transformations are possible and Folsom is no slacker when it comes to doing so, living up to the slogan on the shirts all were wearing that said the words, “We Serve Folsom,” across the front and featured the numerous sponsor that funded the day to the tune of more than $164,000 in monies, services and goods needed to make the 10th annual Community Service Day the highest yet when it came to sponsorship figures.

Photography by Bill Sullivan, Adam Frick, City of Folsom

Sponsors for the 2023 event and their investment levels are as follows according to the City of Folsom:

Presenting Sponsors: Dignity Health, Intel

Visionary Sponsors: Lennar, Folsom Times, Lakeside Church, Style Media Group

Leader Sponsors: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Folsom Telegraph,Rotary Club of Folsom,

Partner Sponsors: Dokken Engineering; Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento; Kaiser Permanente; American Logowear; Elliott Homes, Inc.; Kikkoman; WinCo

Good Neighbor Sponsors: Choose Folsom, SAFE Credit Union, Sierra Marlins, CynSational Aesthetics, American River Ace Hardware, Big Wave Coffee House

“This event couldn’t happen without all of the dedicated volunteers, sponsors and our committee members,” said Community Service Day Chari Justin Raithel. “Many of our project leads have been with us since the very first year and it’s the dedication of everyone that makes this event such a success.”

Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan