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Love Escalon Effort Spreads
It was a family work day for the Love Escalon effort on Saturday, as dad Tim Novetzke used the paint roller to touch up lines on the playground at Dent Elementary while, in the background, son Brien, 5, and wife Rachel also work at the site. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Times

They didn’t just Love Escalon this weekend.

They loved Farmington, they loved local senior citizens and they loved teachers throughout the Escalon Unified School District.

The effort to reach out to neighbors, serve the community and make a difference stretched well beyond the city limits on Saturday, with volunteers working to help those in need around the area.

Pastor Jim Davis of Trinity Church, which helps coordinate the work day and serves as headquarters before teams head out, said there were multiple projects planned. Some were done at the Farmington Elementary School, others were scheduled at the homes of Hospice patients, helping get their yards and homes into good shape, while the collection of groceries aided senior citizens and donations of school supplies benefited teachers.

It was all part of the April 5 Love Escalon campaign.

“It’s nice to help out,” said Escalon High School junior Marc Ney, among those who was busy refreshing the paint job on the Dent Elementary campus. “I went here a long time ago and I helped out before, back in eighth grade.”

The Novetzke family, including dad Tim, mom Rachel and son Brien, 5, were all on hand at Dent to work.

“It’s our first year, I thought it would be a good experience, a good way for him to give back to his school,” said Tim Novetzke, noting that son Brien attends kindergarten at Dent.

Davis said a good crowd turned out to help.

“We had 75 sign up and then about 15 more that just showed up,” he said of the Saturday morning gathering. “So we had pretty close to 100 volunteers.”

Those that worked in Farmington, he added, didn’t have to come in to the Trinity Church meeting room for a briefing, they just started their work day at the school in that community.

He was pleased with the donations that came in ahead of time, for teachers in need of school supplies and for senior citizens at Heritage House that were going to receive ‘Groceries of Love’ – deliveries of bags of food.

Helping organize boxes for teachers was Van Allen Elementary student Jezenia Arias-Lopez.

“My mom said it would be good to help,” the 8-year-old stated. “We did this last year, hard work but it was fun.”

A large contingent of grade school students was busy pulling weeds and planting flowers around the signboard at Dent, while weeds were pulled at the school’s garden and the local food pantry, C.A.R.E., also got a thorough cleaning.

The site of the old Escalon Motel – which has been purchased by Trinity Church and will be converted to a Youth Center for the community – was undergoing some serious clean up.

“What a fabulous use of that property,” Escalon city councilmember Robert Swift commented of the youth center plan.

Davis said they are excited about that project and he was happy to have a crew busy helping clean up the site as part of the Love Escalon effort.