Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and David Levinson, founder and chair of Big Sunday, joined over 50,000 volunteers from Los Angeles and surrounding cities for Big Sunday weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 28th and 29th.

Big Sunday, said to be the largest regional weekend of community service in the nation, was held at project sites throughout Los Angeles, surrounding cities, Orange and Ventura Counties and the Inland Empire.

Villaraigosa and Levinson kicked off the event Saturday, April 28th, with a rally for over 1,000 volunteers at Hazard Park in Boyle Heights, where they planted the first tree of Big Sunday.

‘From Wilmington to Woodland Hills, from Watts to the Westside, today we are all one community,’ Villaraigosa said. ‘This is the spirit of Los Angeles, everyone doing their part and working together.’

Levinson added, ‘What’s especially exciting about Big Sunday is that the idea — that everyone can help someone else — really seems to have taken hold in our community.

‘What I love about Big Sunday is that it’s not just about community service — it’s about community building, too.’

The Big Sunday weekend featured close to 400 service projects, more than 2,000 tree plantings as part of the Million Trees L.A. Initiative, participation by over 100 Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools, private and charter schools, and hundreds of nonprofit organizations, churches, synagogues, mosques and temples throughout Southern California, city officials said.

The weekend event also included over 200,000 ‘people hours’ of volunteer service.

Last year, the partnership between Big Sunday and the Mayor’s Days of Service resulted in more than 32,000 volunteers of diverse race, religion, ethnicity and socioeconomic groups, who came together to volunteer at nearly 250 different nonprofit organizations, giving it the record for the largest citywide volunteer day in America, officials claimed.

Big Sunday was started in 1999 by writer David Levinson at Temple Israel of Hollywood, with just 300 volunteers. In 2005, Big Sunday totaled 8,000 volunteers.