#LoveTehachapi passes on the love
May 8, 2021
#LoveTehachapi's third volunteer event took place on April 24 at the former Aspen Meat Market parking lot.
More than 100 volunteers from local churches, community volunteers and the City of Tehachapi pitched in to serve their Tehachapi neighbors and help with spring cleaning in the neighborhoods near the Meat Market.
Volunteers spread out to serve approximately 85 households, hauling wagons filled with boxes of food, gifts and fresh plants.
Several individuals, with the aid of many large trucks and trailers, assisted with cleaning up yards and hauling away large items, including furniture. Waste Management dropped off several large trash containers where the parade of trucks and trailers were able to dump their loads.
Chris Budge organized an Amazon book drive funded by individual donations that brought in approximately 215 children's books for neighborhood children. The Tehachapi Library provided craft kits featuring Earth Day themes. TVRPD gave discount coupons for youth programs. Free lunches were distributed, Starbucks provided coffee, and #LoveTehachapi t-shirts were available for a nominal fee. Resident's were overwhelmed by the love they were shown. There's no catch. It's all about the love and service. One resident approached the organizer, Nichole Hamblin, and said thank you for seeing us and indicated he wants to help with future events.
Hamblin of #LoveTehachapi, partnered with Mountain Vineyard Church Pastor, Mike Safford, came up with the idea of investing in the community when Hamblin's family moved back to Tehachapi in July 2018. She said she is adamant about not taking credit for creating the entire movement and stressed that it takes a collaboration of many in a community to make events like #LoveTehachapi happen.
Hamblin's family lived in Tehachapi in 2014 and 2015, before they moved to Northern California then settled in New Zealand. After returning to Tehachapi, she decided she wanted to "get outside" and involve herself with the community. She and her pastor, Safford, brainstormed ideas to invest in the community. Over the first five to six months, she built relationships with business owners, individuals and City officials. The first event was held in October 2019. The initial goal was to sponsor at least four events per year. However, the 2020 COVID pandemic affected events for 2020.
#LoveTehachapi hosts a variety of neighborhood events, from car washes to neighborhood cleanups, to food distribution. One of the goals is to provide a safe environment for people to come together so they do not have to feel that they are on their own when serving their neighbors and community. The primary objective is for people to be good neighbors and serve one another – love one another, serve one another and promote the positive. As she says, pass on the love; it feels like it always comes back to you. As Hamblin relates, big ideas help get the little ideas going. As she describes, each event has a front element and a back element. There is a place of service for everyone, from leader types to people persons to those who do not want a lot of interaction with other people. With each event the volunteers all learn more about what works and what does not. Hamblin typically sends out a survey to all of the volunteers after the events asking for their feedback.
#LoveTehachapi is not an organization that focuses on asking for donations from business people, corporate stores and individual citizens. They work very hard to pay for everything. Money is raised through Mountain Vineyard Church with a group called Compassion in Action. Every Thanksgiving a collection is taken for different causes and #LoveTehachapi is one of those favored causes.
Hamblin also makes it a point to report back to all of the people and organizations that participated in a particular event. Among those who donated or volunteered for the April 24 event are: Salvation Army, Tehachapi Community Center, KCL - Tehachapi Branch Library, Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District, City of Tehachapi, Tehachapi Mountain Vineyard Church, Mountain Bible Church, Church of the Nazarene, Calvary Chapel, Starbucks, Old Towne Dental, Waste Management, Petrichor Floral Design Studio, SaveMart, Walmart and Red House BBQ.
The next #LoveTehachapi event is scheduled for October 2021. Hamblin also prefers to get an event going in the summer, however, summer is difficult because people are vacationing and traveling. She would welcome more leaders to head up areas of interest, like the children's book drive. If you feel the call, please email Hamblin at firstname.lastname@example.org.