Residents, city officials will roll up their sleeves in day of service to show they ‘Love Costa Mesa’
Anyone with a fondness for the city of Costa Mesa will have a chance on Saturday to prove it by joining hundreds of local volunteers as they roll up their sleeves for Love Costa 2021, a citywide day of service.
The annual event is an opportunity for individuals, churches and nonprofits to lend a helping hand wherever it is needed, in projects created and organized by city residents.
Community members can go online to lovecostamesa.org and sign up for one of nearly 40 service projects that will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Work opportunities range from care package assembly and letter-writing campaigns to local painting and gardening projects.
Part of a broader “Love Our Cities” campaign that takes place in municipalities in Orange County and beyond, the local event is spearheaded by Trellis, a nonprofit collaboration of church leaders and residents who work together on citywide issues.
“The idea is to create a day where the community can really love on the city,” said Ian Stevenson, executive director of Trellis. “We want to encourage people to know their neighbors, to care for their neighbors and get to know the city, and this is an event that stimulates that.”
Love Costa Mesa begins with an 8 a.m. drive-through rally at Vanguard University, where participants can pick up a free T-shirt and snacks and get directions to their individual projects. Then, it’s off to work.
Costa Mesa resident Ralph Hulett volunteers with Trellis and has participated in the service day as a project leader since its inception in 2018. This year, he’ll oversee 10 volunteers who’ve signed up to help clear the overgrown yard of an older neighbor unable to do the work himself.
“Our mission is to help a neighbor transform his property into something beautiful,” he said. “Especially with the past 12 months and the way things have gone, it’s really important to let people know there are people out there who care about them and who want to help.”
City officials and staff members will also participate Saturday. Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Andrea Marr will work with a team of volunteers to clear trash and refurbish the gazebos at TeWinkle Park, where she walks her dog Lincoln in the mornings.
“[Love Costa Mesa] brings people together and it really creates a sense of ownership, where people who live in the city feel responsible for their neighbors and beautifying the city,” she said Wednesday.
Councilman Manuel Chavez hasn’t missed the day of service since it started. This year, he will help beautify Shalimar Park on the city’s westside. It’s all part of making Costa Mesa an even better place to live.
“I personally have the most joy when I’m on the ground at community events, and this is really emblematic of that,” Chavez added.
The day concludes with an outdoor celebration lunch at Christ Lutheran Church, where treats from Costa Mesa restaurants will be on the menu. Stevenson said the lunch lets people share their experiences and, hopefully, form bonds that will lead to future collaborations.
“There’s not another day like it,” he said.
The event’s drive-through rally takes place from 8 to 9 a.m. Saturday at Vanguard University, 55 Fair Drive.
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