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Different strokes: Local business Paints It Forward
Lancaster pic1
Lancaster Painting employees and volunteers did more than their part this weekend when they helped restructure walls, paint, and barbeque for the winners of the 3rd Annual Paint It Forward program. - photo by BROOKE BORBA / The Journal

Lancaster Paint welcomed the opportunity for spring cleaning this weekend through its 3rd annual “Paint It Forward” campaign.  After receiving a year’s worth of nominations, the Turlock business picked residents of Stanislaus County to receive a free paint job for their good deeds and community service.

Elizabeth Walden and Neil Berry of Oakdale were nominated by a Magnolia Elementary school teacher for their efforts to benefit the school. Walden is known as the theater queen, and has helped put on local productions for students through her drama program. Lancaster recognized the young family’s out-of-pocket efforts, and rolled up their sleeves last Saturday to repair and repaint their home.

“It feels so unreal,” said Walden. “It almost feels like a fairy-tale. This is not something we could have done on our own. Lancaster has taken care of everything.”

Though the program only called for a paint job, Lancaster took the endeavor a step further and even repaired the inner surface of damaged walls. Walden and Berry, along with their children Mary, 12, and Nathan, 1, were able to utilize this opportunity to redecorate their bedrooms in the colors of choice.

Volunteers and Lancaster employees littered the lawn with paint supplies, but also brought another surprise for the family. In the morning, volunteers set up a large table on the front lawn for a little donut and coffee break. Near lunch time, the space operated as a barbeque feast, much to Walden’s delight.

“We haven’t been asked to pay for anything. The generosity is unreal. Just to think, they do this every year,” said Walden.

Lancaster Paint has previously provided a free paint job for the Baker family foster home in association with Aspiranet, and the Community Continuum College, but hopes to see the “Paint It Forward” program as a model for other businesses looking to make a local impact.

"This is a very exciting event,” said Lancaster sales assistant Jennifer Beede. “A lot of people do so much for others, and this is our way to thank those who are making a difference in our community. This is a chance for us to get our families and kids together to unite for a good cause, and show how important team building is.”

Beede extended her thanks to Paul’s Paint Company, Sherwin Williams, Lighthouse Communications, Noah’s Water, Modesto 7up, consultant Greg Farnam, and Xi Phi Theta for their support and assistance in the program.

Despite finishing their latest project on Saturday, Beede is encouraging all businesses and local community members to submit their nominations for next year’s winners.

“We believe a lot of people are not being represented, and we wanted to stretch the variety of people we get to choose from,” said Beede. “We just want to thank them for giving us all an opportunity to give back.”

To nominate an individual, family or non-profit organization in the community, fill out the online nomination form at