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Community shows love for Turlock
Love Turlock 1
The playground sets, sidewalks and volleyball posts at Donnelly Park are bright with new colors thanks to several community members volunteering during the 13th annual Love Turlock community service event (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).

Walking or driving around Turlock this week, people may notice that a number of parks are cleaner, a few playgrounds have fresher paint and some of the community’s less fortunate folks have larger smiles on their faces. Most of it is a result of the generosity and volunteerism displayed during Saturday’s Love Turlock event, the city-wide community service celebration.

This year’s Love Turlock was the 13th in history and saw hundreds of volunteers of all ages participate in 34 community service projects throughout the city, a significant increase from 20 last year and 27 in 2022. The goal of Love Turlock is to inspire the community to love each other by giving back.

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Melissa Chavarria and Sergio Gomez took time out of their morning Saturday to teach their son the spirit of volunteerism, writing messages of support for the local senior community (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).

“To everybody coming out here today to give their time and their effort and their sweat and their energy, we're so appreciative of you,” city councilmember Rebecka Monez told volunteers. “I just want you to know from the City Council perspective, we brag about Turlock all the time when we talk to other elected officials because we believe out of all the cities in Stanislaus County, Turlock is the best one to be in, live in, work in, and be a part of the community… It’s showing today.”

Saturday’s projects included the beautification of six different schools (Turlock High, Dutcher Middle, Julien Elementary, Earl Elementary, Crowell Elementary and Fusion Charter), landscaping for seven local families, helping at several social assistance facilities (We Care, Prodigal Sons and Daughters, United Samaritans, Turlock Gospel Mission, etc.) and organizing gifts and messages for first responders and teachers, as well as making teddy bears for children in crisis.

“If this day does not put a smile on your face, I tell you, there is something wrong with you,” joked Aaron Melo, assistant principal of Turlock High School who served as the event’s emcee. “You see all the love and to see all the support and the kindness in this area right here in Turlock, in this wonderful community… It’s amazing. It's inspiring.”

Volunteers included groups from local organizations and businesses throughout town, elementary school children, high schoolers, student athletes from Stanislaus State and just regular residents wanting to give back to the community.

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The MCE1 Mavericks, a group representing Amazon’s distribution center in Turlock, help with landscaping at Donnelly Park at Love Turlock on Saturday (CHRISTOPHER CORREA/The Journal).

Volunteers gathered at Donnelly Park for the opening ceremonies, which included refreshment and saw the nation’s colors presented by Turlock High Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. (NJROTC) before the Stan State cheer team gave a performance. After projects wrapped up, many returned to the park for lunch cooked by and served by members of the Kiwanis of Greater Turlock and high schoolers with the Turlock and Pitman Key Clubs.

So many of our students are here volunteering their time, from all the schools. And a special thank you to all of those good role models in showing our youth what being a citizen of a community is all about,” Melo said. “We have so many volunteers and people who work within our community that make it great. We are so blessed.”

Platinum sponsors of Love Turlock 2024 were the City of Turlock, Plett Family Optometry, Turlock Sunrise Rotary, Crossroads Church, Legendary hauling Junk Removal and Starbucks. Gold sponsors were Stanislaus County, Cen-Cal Embroidery and the Turlock Irrigation District. Silvers sponsors were Winton-Ireland Strom & Green, Lifestyle Realty and Turlock Scavenger. Bronze sponsors were Living Soils Co., Christian Hits FM 107.3 and Bouncin’ Bins.