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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 9:46 pm | Fair 46º


Lompoc Volunteers Turn Out to Help Out for Annual Make A Difference Day

Community-wide cleanup project encompasses several areas, thanks to the work of citizens and city employees alike

City of Lompoc managers, union members and local residents worked shoulder to shoulder Saturday to dig holes for plants, unload rocks and spread mulch.

Approximately 50 people worked at that site alone, one of several locations in Lompoc where volunteers completed Make A Difference Day projects.

Make A Difference Day was started more than 20 years ago. USA Weekend Magazine collaborates with Points of Light for the event, the largest national day of community service.

The crowd that gathered Saturday at the city yard on West Laurel Avenue made quick work of the projects planned for the day.

They were so efficient that Codie Blea, Urban Forestry Division supervisor, repeatedly commented on the effort.

“This is awesome,” he said, looking at completed landscaping at the front of the municipal property. “We got so much work done here.”

Last year, a dozen people worked on the city project, compared to 50 on Saturday.

The city yard was one of several sites in Lompoc where teams worked to finish various projects, he said.

Crews also worked on the drought-tolerant garden at the sewage treatment plant, spruced up Barkin Park Dog Park, collected trash near Olive Avenue and V Street, spread mulch at A Street and Central Avenue, planted trees at the River Bend Bike Park and picked up debris around town.

Other groups involved were the dog park supporters, Lompoc Valley Botanic and Horticultural Society, Lompoc Valley Middle School, AYSO, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, bike park supporters and Lompoc Trash Mob.

Madelyn Schock, 12, puts plants in the ground in front of the Lompoc Corporation Yard as part of Make A Difference Day. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
Madelyn Schock, 12, puts plants in the ground in front of the Lompoc Corporation Yard as part of Make A Difference Day. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The day was co-sponsored the Lompoc Beautification and Appearance Commission.

For Make A Difference Day projects Saturday the city waived landfill fees. The city also supported the other projects with supplies such as mulch.

“Whatever they need, we’ll provide for them,” Blea said.

Councilman DeWayne Holmdahl took a break in the shade before arming himself with a shovel to handle stray rocks being unloaded from a truck into a strip of landscaping with rose bushes at the city yard spruce-up site.

“I’m just glad to see everybody here,” he said.

On the other side of the driveway, crews planted drought-tolerant grasses and lavender.

“We wanted to go drought-tolerant,” Blea said. “We don’t want to have to water, especially in the drought we’re in right now. Of course, we want to cover up the soil so it looks nice and it actually cuts back on the water loss in the soil, which is always good.”

In a total team effort, Arianna Walters digs a hole while her 2½-year-old daughter, Sophia May, holds the plant she’ll put in it. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
In a total team effort, Arianna Walters digs a hole while her 2½-year-old daughter, Sophia May, holds the plant she’ll put in it. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The city has participated in Make A Difference Day events for years, according to Blea.

“Logistics and staging is everything,” he added. “We actually accomplished everything we planned to do today, which is huge.”

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, the union for most city employees, donated about half the cost of the barbecue lunch served to volunteers afterward.

“It’s something we look forward to every year,” Blea said. “And it’s growing.”

Barry Marks was among local residents who showed up to help, after participating in the first trash mob last month.

“It was just great — people working together — and there was nothing in it for anybody except a sense of contributing to our community to make it a better place,” he said. “It’s wonderful to see families bring their kids, and the kids pitching in.

“I’ve seen no moaning or groaning from anybody. It just feels good. It’s a sense of community.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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