Did You Witness the Cedar Valley 'Love Explosion' Saturday?
Forty-two area churches banded together Saturday to blanket Cedar Falls and Waterloo with love and volunteers in an annual event.
There was an explosion in Cedar Falls and Waterloo Saturday, but it wasn't the bad kind.
It was a "love explosion," also known as "Love Cedar Valley," a huge annual undertaking that blanketed the metro area with volunteers from 42 local churches, all determined to demonstrate acts of kindness.
"Because God loves us so much, we just want to show other people God's love," said Maureen Hanson, of Hudson. "It's an explosion, right? It's supposed to be all over the Cedar Valley."
Hanson attends Nazareth Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls. She and other members of her church were picking up trash along South Main Street in Cedar Falls Saturday afternoon.
"Christians have become known for what we are against," she said. "We want to be known for what we are for. Being good stewards, taking care of the earth, helping people in need."
She said she had spent the morning at the food bank.
Another member of Nazareth estimated 100 volunteers from their church turned out for the event. With 42 churches from Cedar Falls, Waterloo, Evansdale and Hudson involved, Laura Hoy, who helped organize the event, estimated there were around 1000 people volunteering Saturday.
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The list of projects undertaken Saturday was long.
Volunteers hosted several hot dog roasts, handed out flowers at retirement and nursing homes, gave away snacks and water bottles all over Cedar Falls and Waterloo. They picked up trash in parks and along roadways. They handed out quarters at Laundromats and Aldis, passed out balloons, pinwheels, batteries and cookies. They did yard work, distributed tomato plants and put air in tires.
Love Cedar Valley kicked off in 2006 with 18 churches and has been growing steadily since. The project is based on a Canadian movement, Love Your City, which has offshoots across Canada but also in the U.S., India, the U.K. and Australia.
"We just want to volunteer," Nazareth Lutheran Church member Deb Blanchard, of Cedar Falls, said. "We want to show that there are people that care about the community and that care for other people."