An overgrown yard is no easy task to tame and contractors, gardeners and maintenance can be costly. For the elderly, disabled, single parents, veterans or others who simply need assistance, the struggle is not only the cost but the labor involved. On Oct. 20, over 400 volunteers tended to such needs as part of the annual Building Bridges service event.
Each fall, the San Ramon Presbyterian Church hosts Building Bridges as an opportunity for volunteers to disperse into the surrounding neighborhoods to foster a greater sense of community.
"This is a community love story of average people who choose to cast aside trivial differences and instead seek unity in our common humanity," said Planning Committee Chairman Steve Liao. "We look forward annually to this opportunity to live our faith by serving one another."
For the tenth year, Building Bridges participated in over 30 home projects helping needy residents in the San Ramon Valley with gutter cleaning, irrigation, electrical and roof repair, overgrowth clearing, furniture moving, and more significantly, with lifting spirits.
"I do building bridges because of the joy that I see that comes from the people we serve," said Randy Burchfield, whose role with Building Bridges is to seek and assess projects and deploy teams.
Volunteers of all ages were organized into teams and sent to assignments in San Ramon, Danville, Alamo, Dublin, Livermore, Walnut Creek, Martinez, Pleasanton and Castro Valley.
Not only did Building Bridges volunteers help with general house maintenance, but they visited the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Livermore, completed the second phase of a five-year memorial project at Camp Parks, worked at the church to assemble care packages for AIDS relief in Africa and packed gifts for Meals on Wheels recipients.
Additionally, Building Bridges partnered with California and San Ramon Valley high schools in a food drive and washed 1000 pairs of glasses for a donation through the Lions Club. Sponsors of Building Bridges included Home Depot, Safeway, Chevron Corporation, Waste Management and PG&E.
The day-long occasion concluded with a hardy barbequed dinner at SRPC for fellowship between volunteers and invited homeowners.