Skip to content

Love Riverside's Eighth Annual Serve Day Unites City in Acts of Local Impact

Hundreds of Riversiders flocked to Hunt Park this past Saturday, marking the eighth annual Citywide Serve Day hosted by Love Riverside—a testament to the community's unifying power and dedication to positive change.

Love Riverside volunteers working in the gardens at Overflow Farms (Courtesy Love Riverside).

The day began with an energetic rally and a multifaceted community health fair. A diverse lineup of sponsors—including The Home Depot Foundation, Feed America, and IEHP—distributed essential supplies to attendees, while specialized medical clinics offered free flu immunizations.

"The beauty of Serve Day is its ability to connect neighbors, organizations, and businesses for a common goal: to uplift our community," said Lynn Heatley, the founder of Love Riverside. Alongside event planner Grace Manzo, Heatley reported that this year's initiative rallied approximately 250 volunteers, who chose from 15 different service projects scattered throughout the city.

Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson lent her support, kickstarting the rally with a message of unity and service. "It's about building a stronger Riverside, one act of kindness at a time," she commented. Raffle giveaways enriched the event further, with students in the district benefiting from donated items such as backpacks, lunch bags, fresh fruit, sports balls, and essential hygiene products.

Projects spanned various Riverside parks, including Hunt Park, Fairmount Park, Bryant Park, and La Sierra Park. Volunteers engaged in a plethora of activities ranging from garden beautification and lake cleaning to litter pickup. Some crafted flowers for seniors, while others assembled wellness kits. A specialized group also focused on capturing the day's events through photography and videography.
For Heatley, one highlight of Serve Days is the quality time it affords families. "Seeing families work together on projects that matter to our community—it doesn't get better than that," she remarked.

The ripple effect of Serve Day reaches beyond a single event; it embodies the collective impact of consistent, small actions within the Riverside community. As the event wrapped up, participants left with a renewed sense of purpose, already looking forward to serving again. And for residents inspired by this wave of local impact, the anticipation for the next Serve Day is palpable.