Any fears that this Valley town was slipping into a society of strangers who only connect online was demolished Saturday when hundreds turned out to stand shoulder to shoulder, shovel to shovel and express their love of Turlock through volunteerism.
Love Turlock, a one-day volunteer event, brought dozens of faith-based organizations together for one purpose — to give back. Dozens of teams spread out across town, painting fences, picking up trash, building shelves and giving blood.
At Wakefield Elementary School, volunteers painted a mural in the main hallway outside the campus cafeteria. In other hallways, shelves and cupboard doors were installed and painted. The Turlock Salvation Army was invaded by a team of gardeners who not only tilled and leveled the grounds before planting, but also did general clean up of the site. This was just two of the many projects that took place Saturday morning.
By lunchtime, hundreds of hungry workers had gathered at Columbia Park to share a hotdog lunch with each other and neighborhood residents. On the outside it looked like the largest family reunion ever held at the Westside park, but in reality most of these picnickers had just met each other a few short hours ago.
Not only did Turlockers turn out in droves to show pride in their city on Saturday, but residents across the Valley including Modesto, Ceres and Merced put their good intentions to work for their own “Love” events.
This was the first year for Love Turlock, however, local church New Life Christian Center started a similar event — Servolution — five years ago.
“We’re showing people the difference they can make in one day so they’ll have an idea of what else they can do the other 364 days,” said New Life Pastor David Larson.