On a balmy Saturday with temperatures that started out in the mid-seventies at 8:30 a.m. and ended close to 100 degrees at noon, the 12th annual Redlands Commu-nity Day of Service drew nearly 800 volunteers on June 19, according to Redlands Mayor Paul Barich. This is the 13th year since the start of the Annual Day of Service, broken only last year due to COVID shutdowns.
Helping hands, broad smiles, sweat and tireless energy permeated the proud families and service groups at several venues across the city of Redlands. Among the locations improved this year were:
• Brookside Avenue Median Renovation
• State Street Planters Beautification
• Kimberly Crest Gardens
• Redlands Sport Park
• Ford Park
Locations were selected by the Redlands Service Club Council (RSCC) led by President Shelli Stockton. Started in 2009 to offer help to the city through a coordinated effort of the various service clubs in town, RCSS spends much of the year plan-ning for this Day of Service, enlisting help from the various service clubs, churches and youth groups in the area. What makes this Day of Service significant are the team building, bonding and financial savings realized from voluntarism. Barich estimates that, “this saves the city $200,000 in what it would cost to get these projects done”
Kimberly Crest, well known to Redlands, is a picturesque French chateau style home built in 1897 and depicts the Victorian Era in California during the turn of the 19th century. Its gardens reflect an Italianate-style of landscape and was the place where over 120 volunteers showed up to clean orange groves and spruce up the gardens.
Anita West, executive director of Kimberly Crest House and Gardens, said this was the first time the gardens participated in the Community Day of Service event.
“This is a huge gift to Kimberly Crest,” West said.
“What’s inspiring to me are the young people who are coming here to help,” she observed seeing families with youngsters tagging along to work. But many “seasoned citizens” also showed up to volunteer.
Marsha Slaugh, dressed out in a black sling, kept her one free arm busy working on a section of the garden — weeding and spreading mulch — with her husband. Several roll-off dumpsters were available for debris and by 11:15 a.m. were nearly overflowing with dead palm fronds, leaves and garden debris to the point that volunteers dancing on top to pack everything down, making room for more.
West spoke about the possibility of an “Adopt-a-Garden” program where friends and family can come regularly to spruce up a garden section assigned to them. If adopting a garden spot tickles your green thumb, give Kimberly Crest a call at (909) 792-2111 for more information.
Bright and early on Saturday, about a dozen Rotarians, led by John Tincher, president of the Rotary Club, started hauling hundreds of pounds of rock and decom-posed granite to begin beautifying the Brookside Street median, starting at the corner of Buena Vista and working toward Center Street. Fortunately, they were not alone.
Redlands High School Softball team fielded eight girls and a few brothers to load wheelbarrows with rocks as big as their heads. Just when they thought they were done, a city truck backed up the street and unloaded another pile of rocks for distribution along the median. In a matter of minutes these softball ladies handled hardball rocks like they were styrofoam props. One parent was overheard saying this was a good upper body workout for a softball team. Coach Jacquelyn Ward was on hand watching over her girls, placing rocks between a serpentine area in the median and reminiscing about her softball-playing days.
“I’m an RHS graduate and was on the softball team,” Ward said.
Now she returns to coach the team she once played on.
Families from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who helped sponsor the Day of Service, were scattered among the various locations. About 400 congregants showed up according to Rob Elkinss, who serves as president and helps coordinate eight congregations in the area.
State Street Beautification
Historic State Street is considered the hub of downtown Redlands and serves not only the businesses along the street, but also as the venue for Market Night and other events at Ed Hales Park on the corner of Fifth and State streets. Each planter starting from Orange Street to Seventh Street had groups of families and churches. Along with Cub Scout Pack 8 from Sacred Heart Church working to replace bushes and soil to the planters surrounding State Street’s stately shade trees. Next to Caprice Restaurant, Jessica Tolman, her friend Pei Teng and Tolman’s children ⎯ Tessa, 3; Mackenzie, 6; Grant, 8; Landon, 10 ⎯ took over the planter on Fifth Street, ensuring their job matched the other planters along State Street.