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Volunteer Crews Donate Community Service Hours
Volunteer Mark Sarkozy applies the bright yellow paint as part of a Love Escalon project at the Escalon Post Office on Saturday, one of many community service efforts that was completed during the day. Marg Jackson/The Times

The Saturday of Service work day known as Love Escalon saw plenty of volunteers turning out to donate time, effort and elbow grease to the community service effort.

Coordinator Brittany Doornenbal said several projects were done during the day on April 21, with Love Escalon just one of the community service efforts around the Central Valley conducted on that day. Following a kickoff rally at the Escalon Youth Center, the crews fanned out to multiple locations around the community to clean up, spruce up, beautify and just generally lend a helping hand.

“I was a little nervous leading up to it, we were short a few volunteers in some areas,” Doornenbal admitted. “But some people just showed up that day to work.”

All the efforts were staffed and got completed, many in less than the three-hour work window. There was a crew that handled the washing of school buses, volunteers at the Escalon Animal Shelter and the laundromat, as well as beautification efforts at Paddack Mobile Manor and the post office, along with trash pick-up.

Neighborhood projects were done on behalf of the Escalon Historical Museum, the Escalon Library and Heritage House, where volunteers helped distribute bags of groceries to the residents.

“We had roughly 90 volunteers,” Doornenbal added.

There were four churches that joined in to sponsor the day of service, Escalon Christian Reformed Church, Escalon Covenant, Escalon Presbyterian and Trinity Church. D’Boni’s Pizza also provided a coupon for a free personal pizza for all volunteers, many of whom met up at the local eatery to share a meal and thoughts about the day when they were done with their work.

“We had beautiful weather for it, I was happy for that,” said Doornenbal. “This was my first time organizing it; I had a team of people from the four churches helping me.”

Anna Walters, her boyfriend Juan Romero and their six kids – ranging in age from 5 to 12, dug in to clean up and beautify the area around the laundromat along Jackson Avenue.

“I like that we’re all here together,” said Victor, who will turn 13 on May 10 and is the oldest of the siblings. “I like this.”

Marv Leusink was one of those that “just showed up” on Saturday morning to see if he could help out.

“I did it at Paddack Manor last year, I just enjoy giving back, helping out,” he said.

This year he was among a group that did painting and landscaping work at the post office.

El Portal eighth grader Jessica Dietzel was helping out by organizing and sorting items at the Escalon Historical Society Museum.

“My mom volunteered me,” she admitted, but added that the museum was a perfect spot for her because she enjoyed reading about the city’s history and looking at past photos.

Dent Elementary student Chloe Grace, 7, enjoyed helping out at Heritage House, delivering groceries.

“The best part was having fun with my friends, and getting to meet the Princesses,” she said of working with Miss Escalon and her court at the grocery distribution.