First, a tip of the hat to the organizers of the Love Madera day of service, during which some 400 people worked to help feed the homeless; clean parking lots, trails, and river beds and banks; crochet blankets for babies and donate blood. The day was shared by 39 communities in the Central Valley, and allegedly involved more than 7,000 volunteers. Thanks you, organizers, aka the Madera Ministerial Association, and thank you to all who participated to make the city a better place.
That’s the good news, but there’s better news.
Love Madera will go on throughout this year, according to Pastor Roger Leach of Valley West Christian Center. The idea, he says, is for the city’s churches and other organizations to help build civic pride on the foundation that other projects, such as the city’s antigraffiti campaign, already have laid.
The idea, said Leach on Monday, is to give all citizens reasons to love the city by making each citizen responsible for the city’s welfare.
The movement will include Love Madera signs and Tshirts, and also a media campaign.
Something as simple as picking up stray pieces of paper from a sidewalk can help create a cleaner city. Keeping one’s yard well groomed not only makes the homeowner feel good, but also adds value to all the homes in a neighborhood. Making sure the food bank always has enough food, making sure the blood bank always has enough blood, making sure neighbors who might need some help always get it — these are acts of good citizenship that build community and can only improve the city.
Californians have a reputation as a people who have government do almost everything for them. Those days are ending. While it is nice to have effective government, we know we as citizens have to step up first to make our lives what we want them to be. The Love Madera movement is giving us that chance.