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Showing Turlock the Love
Hundreds turn out for day of service
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Karsen Monroe, Kenya Smith, Zoe Tallent, Leo Pitts and Melissa Andrade (all Dutch Bros employees) volunteer their time to paint the living room of home used as transitional housing for families who were homeless during the Love Turlock event on Saturday (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal).

A group of local broistas (the term for those who serve coffee and other drinks at Dutch Bros Coffee) put down their coffee beans and blenders on Saturday and picked up paint brushes to renovate a home on Vermont Avenue that is used by the We Care Program of Turlock as transitioning housing for those who were homeless.

They were just a few of the approximately 500 volunteers who dispersed across town to do good on Saturday as part of the Love Turlock event.

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Dawn Mallory helps clean up the Crowell Elementary School garden (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal).

“Our hope is that today we make a difference in Turlock, that you feel encouraged, that we bring someone hope, and that today is a catalyst for each of us to think about how we can continue to make a difference all year long,” said Lindsay Plett, one of the leaders of the Love Turlock campaign.

Plett and her co-lead Melanie Youkhana rallied the volunteers Saturday morning at Donnelly Park before they broke off into teams to tackle 20 different projects around town.

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Rachel Valdez and Daija Valdez make placemats for seniors during Love Turlock (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal).

Andrew Crawford and 50 others from Team TID, an independent nonprofit made up of mostly TID employees, spent the day repairing homes at the Sun Garden senior mobile home park and updating the park’s pool area.

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Lynna Jeffries of Team TID and her daughter Phoebe work to refurbish the pool area at the Sun Garden senior mobile home park (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal).

Crawford was able to secure donations from Turlock’s Costco and Lowe’s stores to help improve the low-income senior homes and pool area, including a brand new swing seat, grill and artificial turf.

“We thought this would be a good project. We though it would be fun and we thought it would make a difference. The whole idea behind Love Turlock is to help people who are in need and make a difference in the community,” he said.

At Crowell Elementary School, a team of volunteers worked on getting the school’s garden back in order after a harsh spring of rain and wind wreaked havoc.

“This year has been a little crazy with all the rain. And it was rain, rain, rain, rain, rain and then all of a sudden the weather got better and there were weeds everywhere. It was really hot and everything’s just overgrown and crazy,” said Crowell teacher Carmen Sims, who along with fellow teach Ron Putnam, spearhead the garden.

Sims and Putnam started the garden in 2014 and it has grown since then and has become a hands-on science tool for all levels at the school.

“It’s amazing how many kids don’t know where their food comes from,” said Sims.

As the crew at Crowell worked at de-weeding the garden, Jeff Esau, John Freitas and Tim Benson put their carpentry skills to work at a home on Broadway to build a wheelchair ramp.

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John Freitas and Tim Benson build a wheelchair ramp at a home on Broadway (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal).

Esau is a Love Turlock veteran and has been lead on a number of projects. While he works as a physical therapist in his regular job, he said he “grew up as a farmer’s son” and woodworking is not new to him.

Saturday was the first time Freitas, a local handyman, and Benson, a property manager, had volunteered as part of Love Turlock.

“It makes me feel good to go out do something for somebody who’s in need,” said Freitas.

Turlock’s event was one of several going on around Stanislaus County. More information on next year’s event can be found at