Community Comes Together to Love Turlock

Kailey Fisicaro/|

One Turlock woman, a cancer patient, got a loving surprise this weekend, as Love Turlock volunteers gathered Saturday to spread across the city and evangelize through doing.

The woman, who lives near downtown on Julian Street, asked Love Turlock if they could do a good deed for her neighbors this Saturday. She asked as she wished to thank her neighbors for their kindness and help during her treatment.

But as Relay For Life was also this weekend, the woman was out of the house, providing the perfect opportunity for a great surprise. Volunteers from Love Turlock teamed up with the woman’s daughter, and asked her mom to choose flowers she liked for her neighbors’ yards.

The neighbors were also in on the happy trick, and the flowers were then planted at the woman’s house instead. Volunteers then repainted peeling trim and took care of her yard work as well.

Many of the projects happened this way: anonymous help and work in the name of good as a way of taking care of the community and its people.

According to Dave Larson, pastor of New Life Christian Center, Love Turlock started out as what used to be their Servolution project seven years ago. It then grew from a combination of different events and ideas and teamed up with the five-year-old Love Modesto.

The story may differ depending on who tells it, but not in a fight for who gets the credit. No matter who you ask, it’s not important who started it: It matters that it’s happening now, and it’s helping make positive changes in the community.

Donna Andrino and Diane Dickey had similar things to say on the project. Andrino and Dickey stuck around at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds selling and handing out the Love Turlock yellow t-shirts to those who needed them. Andrino explained that about 600 shirts were ordered this year, but combined with leftovers from years prior, more than that may have been handed out. In other words, it’s a huge project that a lot of people get involved in and the number of total volunteers isn’t definitive yet.

According to Larson, some of the participants even skipped the morning kick-off to get a headstart on their projects around town. Last year, he explained, about 20 churches were involved other than New Life, including Mitchell Community Church, Crossroads Church, and Monte Vista Chapel. About 15 organizations from town also participated. The biggest goal, Larson made clear, is to “make it personal.”

Larson drove around during the day, checking in on different projects, offering tools and supplies, and a lot of encouragement.

His wife, Gena Larson drove around with Turlock City Councilwoman Amy Bublak offering the same encouragement. Old college chums, Gena Larson and Bublak met in their days back at California State University, Stanislaus while working at Round Table Pizza.

Bublak explained that Love Turlock was the same kind of work she had been doing as a student back then, when she started Good Neighbor Day in 1988 as Associated Student Body President at the university.

Bublak was able to see one project come full circle after offering an applicant at a Community Development Block Grant program meeting to utilize Love Turlock’s opportunities. Bublak asked if Love Turlock could do anything to help and, on Saturday, she saw that call put to action.

During the lunch following the work, Dave Larson explained over the microphone to the sea of yellow Love Turlock tees, “We do this big thing with t-shirts and barbecues so you can see you can do this the other 364 days.”

In prayer, Dave Larson admitted aloud, that we are “surrounded by people who are often hopeless and struggling, and Lord we are too.”

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