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Love Ceres on tap this Saturday
Hundreds to donate time to improving Ceres
The Love Ceres event this weekend will include visits to the Hale Aloha Convalescent Hospital in Ceres. Last year volunteers Randi Ramsdell-Jantz, Ramon Mendez and Courtni Ramsdell-Coutrakis visited resident Camille Boyd, a 41-year resident of Ceres. Most other jobs will include cleaning up neglected areas of Ceres. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/ Courier file photo

One day is all that's needed to make a difference in the community.

In reality, organizers of this Saturday's "Love Ceres" event are only looking for less than three hours' worth of volunteer labor to not only clean up the community but to show love to others.

A little over 300 persons have signed up for short jobs by logging onto but many more will show up unannounced Saturday morning to be plugged into projects, said event organizer Becky Barton-Nicholes.

"We're hoping by Saturday that a lot more will sign up," said Nicholes. "It seems like we've had almost a hundred sign up in the week."

The seventh "Love Ceres" community service event gets underway at 9 a.m. with opening remarks and prayer at the Ceres Community Center. Nicholes said that many people don't sign up but will show up to work where they are needed. After welcoming introductions and a brief pep rally, volunteers will meet with their respective project leaders and get their work assignments. Work will be over by 12:30 p.m. but some prefer to stay on the job until the project is done.

"When you have a lot of people it's amazing what you can do in a short amount of time," she added.

One ambitious project to be tackled is a clean-up of Herndon Avenue in the area of Grandview Avenue where homeless persons have been a mess. Another area to be targeted is the area of Bystrum Road from Latimer Avenue southward to the Highway 99 onramp.

Cleanups will also be done at the Howard Stevenson Memorial Grove of Ceres River Bluff Regional Park and the Clinton Whitmore Mansion.

Some projects are kid friendly and family-oriented, while others are geared to adults only, said event coordinator Becki Barton Nicholes.

Projects for 2015 include the following:

• Visiting residents of a convalescent and retirement home. Volunteers will encourage those who are lonely by listening, chatting with and possibly praying with residents;

• Home and yard maintenance. Approximately 40 volunteers are needed to help people in need with home and yard projects. Volunteers are asked to bring yard equipment;

• Clinton Whitmore Mansion clean-up. Volunteers are needed to help with maintenance, weed pulling and bush trimming at the Whitmore Mansion. About 30 are needed for this project and should bring yard equipment;

• Dusting off the inside of the Clinton Whitmore Mansion in downtown Ceres. Volunteers are needed to clean, dust and sweep the interior of the 1903 mansion.

• Food & Toy Drive. Volunteers will walk neighborhoods collecting food items for local food banks like Meals on Wheels and toys for the Children's Crisis Center;

• Prayer Team. A group will remain at the Ceres Community Center and pray for the community and those in need;
• Organizing at Hope Haven West. Volunteers will help sort, clean, box and adjust wheelchairs for ultimately being shipped to various countries at the Ceres warehouse;

• Cleaning up parks and neighborhoods. Volunteers will be directed by city staff where to help clean-up, paint, or remove graffiti from city facilities, including parks.

• Serve a meal to the community. Volunteers are needed to help feed the other work volunteers with a free lunch at Ceres Community Center;

• Improve downtown Ceres. Volunteers will be needed to clean up alleys, sidewalks, and more.

• Community Baby Shower. Approximately 20 volunteers are needed to help host a baby shower for new mothers in need;

• Downtown Neighborhood Improvement. About 80 are needed to help clean up residences in the downtown area;

• Kids Carnival at Village Chapel Free-Will Baptist Church on Central Avenue. Volunteers will help with games for a community children's carnival.

• River Bluff Park Lower Terrace Clean-up of the area by removing weeds, trash, brush, clearing the lecture area, and cleaning the roadway.

Everyone is encouraged to visit and sign-up for a project.

Volunteers will provide a free meal to anyone at the Serve a Meal Project at Whitmore Park in downtown Ceres, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.