Tehachapi people take care of their own. That’s what the folks of the Facebook movement #lovetehachapi are doing to improve each other’s lives and the community at large.
Founder Nichole Hamblin established the movement after she and Mike Safford, lead pastor of Tehachapi Mountain Vineyard, sat down one day and had a conversation about how they could improve the community.
"We wanted to engage with the city, love on the city and be present in the city," said Safford.
From those conversations, Safford said an idea emerged as Hamblin presented a slew of ideas on how to improve life in Tehachapi.
"She grabbed that ball and ran with it," Safford said.
Hamblin began her mission to love on Tehachapi by creating a crew of volunteers that helped their neighbors clean up their yards and roadways, a car wash crew that shined up 40 vehicles, and a Mob Crew that sprinkled gifts and good deeds throughout the community.
Hamblin said the volunteers performed their first act of love in October 2019. Unfortunately, the world was changed in 2020 after the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We had to let go of a couple of our events simply because they would not be COVID-friendly," said Hamblin.
Since the pandemic, Hamblin said #lovetehachapi has modified its mission to adhere to safety recommendations; however, the mission has remained the same: to bless the community.
Said Hamblin, "We started this because we feel that actions speak louder than words. Compassionate action, serving others and loving on them is a way to pass on this love."
Prior to event days, Hamblin gets the word out by posting to social media of different opportunities in which everyone is invited to participate and bless the community.
The Love Mob is group of volunteers that visited 28 locations including businesses, families, couples and single individuals who were each given either a potted mum or a fall bouquet of flowers as well as approximately $200 in gift cards.
Said Hamblin, "They didn't know it was coming. We get lots of hugs and tears."
According to the founder, the point of #lovetehachapi is to teach people how to perform random acts of kindness.
Said Safford, "To me, the community's response is my favorite part of this whole thing. I think people love this city and love living here and love being a part of what's happening and life in this city. I think #lovetehachapi as an event, just gives us another platform to give people an opportunity to get involved in loving on the city and generating affection, mutuality, kindness and goodwill."
Today, Safford said the world is living in a culture that is predominantly conflicted, anxious and contentious.
"I love watching the city of Tehachapi respond to this as another avenue of getting to celebrate who we are as a community. It is super fun to be out there either washing a car or giving a gift basket to someone going through cancer treatment or picking up trash. We have people pull up to us and say, 'Hey, can I have one of those T-shirts? How can I be involved?' It doesn't surprise me because this is a great city with great people who want to cultivate a loving environment," said Safford.
The pastor praised Hamblin for her work with #lovetehachapi and for being a great leader of the movement.
"I'm grateful to the other churches that collaborate," Safford said. "We are just thrilled to be a part of it."
City Manager Greg Garrett said he is a big supporter of any organization that utilizes its volunteers to assist in the quality of life.
"It takes a village, and we are very happy to embrace this positive movement," said Garrett.
For more information, visit #lovetehachapi on Facebook or call Tehachapi Mountain Vineyard at 822-9313.