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Thousands to serve Folsom Sept. 15

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
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More than 2,800 volunteers will complete nearly 50 service projects during Folsom’s fifth annual Community Service Day, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 15.

This major city-wide event mobilizes thousands of volunteers of all ages and interests to complete projects throughout Folsom that make a positive, lasting impact. 

From packing military care packages to beautifying community gardens, landscaping projects to Folsom Lake clean up, there are a variety of projects for everyone to participate in.

One project that has been popular every year is LEGO sorting and donations with BrickDreams.

Youth team leaders Lleyton and Kyle Rutz are looking forward to working with Folsom volunteers on Community Service Day with their project.

“Brickdreams is a charity where we take donated LEGOs and we give them to agencies and police departments, and they go to kids who have been a part of domestic violence,” Lleyton said. “They can make very creative things out of them. They can build a car or a truck.”

Kyle said the children who receive these special gifts can use their imagination to play and take the stress out from their situations.

Kyle also said he and his twin brother are excited for Community Service Day this year because it is their third year participating and it is a great way to get the family involved.

One of the agencies asking for cans is the Folsom Police Department, which will receive numerous cases.

Lleyton said their charity makes them feel proud of what they do.

“It’s better to give something because it will last longer than if you get something,” he said.

The two 15-year-olds are also looking for donations of LEGO bricks, mini characters and Duplo LEGOs.

BrickDreams is also looking to become a 501c(3) non-profit organization and are looking for donations to help as well as funds for storage.

To donate, go to GoFundMe.com/697s3258.

Another project Community Service Day selected is Girls Love Mail, which is a non-profit organization founded and based in Folsom.

Gina Mulligan, founder, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and when she was going through treatment, she said she received more than 200 letters and cards from strangers.

“The letters were from strangers. I thought it was so healing and I wanted to pay it forward,” she said. “I started Girls Love Mail in August of 2011, as a way to bring kindness and healing to breast cancer warriors.”

Last year during Community Service Day, volunteers helped write nearly 250 letters.

“The letters are messages of encouragement and well wishes like, ‘You can get through this; you’re going to be ok.’ It doesn’t take a whole lot,” she said. “The letters just let the woman know they aren’t alone and someone is thinking of them.”

While the letters are written at random as well as delivered confidentially, they go to those who truly need them.

“We send letters all across the country, but we are local, our writers are local and a lot of the letters do stay in the Sacramento area,” Mulligan said.

Last year, Girls Love Mail put together a book with 100 letters selected from the 100,000 letters done so far.

“People can go buy it for a family member or friend who was just diagnosed as a gift,” she said. “All of the proceeds go to the non-profit.”

Mulligan said she is so thankful to be included in Folsom’s Community Service Day.

Along with other worthy projects, Community Service Day also includes a city-wide food drive for Twin Lakes Food Bank. More than 400 volunteers will drop off empty grocery bags and a food needs wish list on every doorstep in Folsom. Volunteers will return the morning of the big day to pick up food donations left in view of the street.

In the recently years, more than 115,000 pounds of food has been collected. The goal is to exceed that amount in order to provide for local families in need of assistance from the food bank.

Volunteers must register in advance at folsomcommunityservice.org. Volunteer check-in takes place at Lakeside Church, located at 745 Oak Avenue Parkway, between 7 and 8:15 a.m. All volunteers will receive a complimentary T-shirt, volunteer bag and breakfast. Most projects take place between 8:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. 

Community Service Day is organized by the City of Folsom and more than a dozen local businesses and community organizations.

To volunteer or for more information about Community Service Day, go to folsomcommunityservice.org or call Christine Brainerd at 916-351-3360.