Hundreds Participate in ‘Love Ceres’ Faith-Based Work Projects

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Around 220 people volunteered much of their Saturday to help smooth out the rough patches in the town of Ceres.

“Love Ceres” volunteers donned work clothes while combing high school safety nets, picking up trash in parks and on school campuses, spreading bark at the Ceres Community Center, washing vehicles first responders and doing a host of other good deeds.

Volunteers gathered in Whitmore Park at 8 a.m., where Ceres Lions Club members had worked from 6 a.m. to produce 300 breakfast burritos before rushing to work on projects all over the Ceres.

Organizer Brandy Meyer and Ceres Mayor Javier Lopez spoke at the kick-off rally in the park before volunteers dispersed around town to work for the next three to four hours.

At the Fourth Street offices of the Ceres Chamber of Commerce and Meyer’s CPR & First Aid, volunteers collected essential items in kits for women at the HAVEN Center (which now stands for Healthy Alternatives to Violent Environments.) Products such as shower gel, shampoo, journals and tissues have been donated to the kits, some of which will go to the Family Justice Center in Stanislaus. Beth Stohl led the project.

Among the volunteers was Ceres City Manager Alex Terrazas, who picked up trash in the downtown district of Ceres. Congressional candidate John Duarte jumped straight into the project of painting the safety nets and dugout structures at the Ceres High School baseball/softball field.

Also busy painting the backstops – built in 1974 – was CHS junior Geovanni Cimental.

“I just wanted to help,” he said. “Painting isn’t really something I do but I like it the few times I’ve done it. He feels good.”

The CHS project was overseen by Aaron Yanagi and Vice Mayor Bret Silveira.

At Harvest Presbyterian Church, volunteers potted plants to distribute to residents of community homes. The project leaders were Brandy Meyer and Pastor Jim Stohl.

Across the street, volunteers picked up trash and cleaned up the campus of Mae Hensley High School. Josh Helton and Pete Kirchhoff of Youth for Christ supervised the work.

The students, led by project manager Ella Oliver, wrote messages of encouragement on cards to hand out to staff members during National Teacher Appreciation Week; and install shorter fences around the lawn.

Pastor Jim Hanna was the project leader for picking up trash at various locations.

A popular work detail was the washing of first responder vehicles including fire trucks, ambulances, police cars and paramedics at Ceres Fire Station. Pastor Ryan Guinn led the project.

Tim Giannosa, Pastor of Big Valley Grace Community Church in Ceres, Pastor Jim Hanna of Grace Community Christian Church, Keith Meyer, Gary M. Condit, Ken Sylvia of Youth for Christ and Christopher Hoem and Anthony Sims of the City of Ceres .

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