After a brief hiatus, the city-wide day of service known as Love Turlock is back.
The one-day extravaganza first began in Turlock in 2012, designed to meet the needs of the community and impact the lives of residents through volunteer work. The event tackles projects both big and small to show love in a variety of ways, whether it be by visiting seniors, serving food to the homeless, sprucing up a park or even mowing a neighbor’s lawn. Last year, however, the event came to a halt when there was no one left to organize the annual tradition.
Turlock resident Lindsay Plett typically volunteered during past Love Turlock events and was shocked to see the community service day did not take place last year. So, she decided to take the reigns herself and created a leadership team that has worked since last summer to prepare for 2020’s Love Turlock event, set for April 25.
“I thought that we needed to have this event still because it’s such a great thing for our city,” Plett said.
Plett said she reached out to the nonprofit organization Love Our Cities, which grew from Love Modesto and helps over 60 cities host service days each year. They showed Plett and her team of organizers the ins and outs of running a community-wide service day, she said, and Love Turlock was soon back up and running.
“There are a lot of things that are similar, but of course since we’re a new group of individuals overseeing it, there are some things that are going to be different,” Plett said.
Typically, Love Turlock has featured countless community service projects spread all throughout the city. That aspect of the event will remain the same, however, volunteers will meet for kickoff in the morning and a celebratory lunch later in the day at Donnelly Park, rather than the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds.
“I was excited about doing it at one of the City parks because it’s somewhere that’s visible to the community,” Plett said. “We can have projects there while doing our rally as well.”
Volunteers will gather for Love Turlock 2020 in the morning at Donnelly Park for a kickoff celebration featuring coffee and pastries. From there, they’ll go off to the various volunteer opportunities made available throughout town, like cleaning up and gardening at the Salvation Army, crafting teddy bears for victimized children, leading activities at Turlock convalescent homes and even conducting mock interviews for local refugees.
Community members still have time to submit project ideas on the Love Turlock website before the big day, and the event is still accepting sponsors through March 27 — another new aspect to this year’s event Plett hopes will spur more community involvement.
“Since it’s our first time, we’re going to just see how things go this year, figure out what works and what doesn’t and then evolve the process for next year,” she said.
At lunchtime, volunteers will return to Donnelly Park for a celebratory lunch, complete with a DJ and photo opportunities, including a selfie wall.
“The heart of the lunch is to allow people to fellowship, celebrate or talk about what they’ve done and make some connections,” Plett said. “While the projects are super important to us, so are the people and bringing the community together to make those relationships.”
While this is just her first year overseeing the Love Turlock effort, Plett hopes the event can grow into more than just a one-day event.
“I think that there are so many people wanting to engage in our community,” she said. “Turlock is really in a place where people are looking for opportunities to serve, and this is just one of them. I think there’s definitely a desire to do more things like this.”
This year’s Love Turlock event will start at 9 a.m. April 25 at 19 at Donnelly Park with other service projects happening around town. For a full list of projects, to sign up to volunteer or to sponsor the event, visit www.loveturlock.com.