The community has gathered for the city-wide day of service known as Love Turlock for six consecutive years, but for the seventh, things will look a bit different.
In the past, the event has served as a one-day extravaganza designed to meet the needs of the community and impact the lives of residents through volunteer work, tackling projects both big and small to show love in a variety of ways, whether it be by visiting seniors, collecting food for the homeless, yard work or painting.
This year, however, volunteers will gather at a central location, Columbia Park, where they will work to beautify the space while offering a day of free fun for the community.
“We are doing things majorly different this year,” leadership team member Ayla Dillon said. “We’re always wanting to grow as an event, and we know to be responsible leaders we have to continue to find ways to meet needs in the area.”
The switch up came as a result of wanting to do more for the west side of Turlock, Dillon said. Children from the schools surrounding Columbia Park, like Osborn, Cunningham and Wakefield elementary schools, were invited to the event, which in addition to service projects throughout the park will also feature a free barbecue, bounce houses and fun in the water spray structure.
“Columbia Park is a very visited, used park and an active, busy place,” Dillon said. “We wanted to specifically bring our event there so that those children and families that walk up to the park that day walk up to all of us ready to serve them and give them a great day they may not get during the summer.”
While years prior Love Turlock has featured over 70 community service projects spread all throughout the city, the event is focusing on fewer, smaller projects – most of which will take place on the west side of town at Columbia, as well as Broadway Park and the Turlock Gospel Mission.
In addition to monitoring bounce houses, leading games and preparing food, volunteers at Columbia Park will clean the pool and complete other tasks to spruce the area up, Dillon said. The new format will better give Turlock residents a chance to form connections with those they are giving back to.
“Last year volunteers may have been doing hard labor and this year they might be making snow cones, but in the end it’s the intention of making someone’s life better that day,” Dillon said. “This has been a self-imposed challenge to say, ‘What can we do differently to make sure we reach out to those we haven’t met in past years?’ It was time to change the formula.”
There will still be service projects in other areas of town as well, but not as many in years past. For the first time ever, there is a project scheduled at the Turlock BMX Bike Park, where volunteers will help to clean up the space, and an alley way recommended by the City of Turlock will be beautified as well. Chatom Elementary and Mountain View Junior High will also receive some TLC, and a “goods drive” will collect much-needed items for local nonprofits.
“Our volunteers will make an impact there, and it makes us feel good knowing they’ll clean up an area that the City said is a problem,” Dillon said.
This year’s Love Turlock event will take place on May 19 at Columbia Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with other service projects beginning earlier in the morning. For a full list of projects or to sign up to volunteer, visit www.loveturlock.com.