Orindans Show How It’s Done in Love Does Volunteer Service Day

(Contributed Photo)
Love Does co-leader,Steve Crocker, and Sandy Barnett who stitched up pillow cases for Foster Dreams

    Women, men and children from ages 4 to 96 did everything from deep cleaning the kitchen at Shelter, Inc. where free meals are served 365 days a year; demolishing and replacing kitchen cabinets at Las Trampas School which serves developmentally disabled adults, to preparing and distributing lunches to a homeless encampment in Oakland.
    The effort involved 260 people from Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church who fanned out to 13 non-profit agencies in February to work on projects for Love Does Sunday. Others stayed on campus to do their work. 
    “One of the most important things we can do as Christians is to actively demonstrate God’s love for our community, and the world, by serving others,” says co-leader of the event, Orinda resident Rick Burris. “Our projects for Love Does reach out to the poor and disadvantaged in our own needy communities.” 
    Formerly called One Sunday, because it happened only one time a year, the name changed this year to broaden the scope as there will be similar days to serve the needs of others throughout the year. Everyone pays to participate, with the funds going to purchase supplies for the projects.
    Carole and Andy Amstutz, Orinda’s 2018 Citizens of the Year, helped put together food carts for the Monument Crisis Center in Concord where low-income families are served. “It was fun to be on the team doing the assembly but the best part was knowing that needy families will soon be carrying food in these carts from the center to their homes. Love Does centers our journey in life,” says Carole, a former Orinda Schools music teacher.
    “The carts are so precious to the clients who receive them – you just can’t imagine what a difference it can make,” says Sandra Scherer, the center’s executive director. 
    The Owensby family – Katie, Heath, Addison, 14, and Hennessey, 10, year old daughter, –  put in time at Shelter, Inc. deep cleaning bathrooms, moving large pieces of furniture and discarding old couches.
    “We want our children to understand that we have a responsibility to take care of people who are experiencing difficult challenges and that life outside Lamorinda on the weekends isn’t all about ballet recitals, water polo tournaments and lavish birthday parties,” says Katie Owensby.
    “I believe sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and serve others before you see the many blessings around you. We want our children to understand that life can be difficult sometimes and everyone can use some encouragement. Even if it feels like one tiny act can’t make a difference; it can,” she says.
    Going one step further, the Owensbys shopped for ingredients and had a taco bar with all the fixings. Then they had lunch with the clients. “We hope that sharing a meal with people in need, sitting down with them to really hear their stories, will be something our kids understand as being far more than just another obligation, but that it’s at the core of being a decent and loving human being,” says Heath Owensby.
    Building redwood planters and filling them with soil was the assignment for Orindan, Dick Curry. This was specifically requested by the children in the Contra Costa Interfaith Housing Complex where permanent affordable housing, plus support services, are provided to at-risk families and individuals in Contra Costa County.
    “The kids wanted a place where they could grow flowers that they might cut and give to their mothers on special occasions. Knowing this I asked myself were they blessed by our efforts, or were we?  Us for sure,” says Curry.
    Sandy Barnett, a familiar face on the staff of Orinda Books, helped make fancy pillow cases for foster kids through Foster Dreams. The pillow cases, she says, will be used by youngsters to carry their belongings when they move, and also use for sleeping,
    “Love Does gives me the opportunity to demonstrate my desire to help others in our community in an organized way,” says Barnett. “I enjoy sewing and it’s fun to be with a group of ladies all working on the same project. Fifty-one pillow cases, made with love, were delivered to Foster Dreams.”
    Co-leader Steve Crocker, another Orindan, says, “It is truly an honor to be a part of Love Does. When I give of my time and energy to help those who are in great need, I realize not only how big is the need but also how close it is to where I live.”  

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