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Volunteers spread the love in community event
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Andrew Gibson and Elan Viss plant a tree at Richard Castros house during the annual Love Turlock event on Saturday.

Hundreds of locals could be found Saturday painting the town – literally. Gold-shirted volunteers were dispersed over the city to paint, trim, whack, clean and spruce up buildings, yards, homes and businesses as part of the annual Love Turlock event.

Love Turlock is a “one day high-impact event designed to reach out and help those in need in our community with the love of Christ,” according to Craig Brooks, a planning team leader of Love Turlock. Hundreds of locals gathered at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds early on Saturday morning to grab their gold Love Turlock t-shirt, listen to praise music and gear up for a morning full of selfless work and community companionship. With newcomers and veteran volunteers alike, the Love Turlock event drew locals from all backgrounds, ages and churches but they all had one thing in common: the goal of sharing God’s love with the community.

“The individual church, while great, is not the whole picture. We’re really all on the same team. We’re all together and we’re doing this. It’s a unity-building thing, as well as a community building thing,” said David Larson, pastor of New Life Christian Church who has been involved since the genesis of Love Turlock.

The cross ministry partnership of Love Turlock is synthesized into an annual four-hour long event that aims to help locals who have either physical or financial limitations. Teams of five to 20 people set out to perform tasks that include everything from yard work, to repairing fences, painting, and various minor home repairs. With over 1,000 volunteers dispersed throughout the city to attend to locals in need, one grateful recipient was Richard Castro who recently relocated to the area. Castro’s new home on the Westside of Turlock needed attention particularly in the front yard where Love Turlock volunteers transformed the vacant area by leveling the ground, removing trash, planting trees and flowers and more.

“I was planning on doing this so when the lady stopped and gave me the flyer and said ‘Hey call me, ya know I have volunteers that would love to come out and help you’ I was like okay because I know it would have taken me at least six months to do this myself,” said Castro.”I’m happy, I appreciate all the help, and they’re all wonderful people who are working so hard.”

With an emphasis on inclusivity, more than 20 different churches and 15 organizations teamed up to serve the Turlock community. Love Turlock originated as an event titled Servolution seven years ago, but organizers adopted the name Love Turlock once Love Modesto was established in an effort to expand to neighboring communities. Ever since, Love Turlock has become an annual event serving not only those in the community in need, but allowing volunteers to carry out their mission to help others.