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Volunteers turn out in droves for ‘Love Costa Mesa 2021,’ growing into an ongoing campaign

A volunteer gardens at the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen as part of Love Costa Mesa 2021, a community- wide day of service.
A volunteer gardens Saturday at the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen as part of Love Costa Mesa 2021, a community-wide day of service.
(Courtesy of Love Costa Mesa)

Overcoming last year’s pandemic challenges, Love Costa Mesa 2021 — an annual citywide day of service — drew nearly 1,000 participants Saturday to various parts of the city, where volunteers embarked on a mission to leave things better than they found them.

Sponsored by local nonprofit Trellis, the event encouraged people to sign up for one of nearly 50 projects, ranging from painting and clearing weeds to assembling care packages and performing individual acts of care and service for the city’s seniors.

State Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine), right, passes out T-shirts with Trellis' Molly Bruland Saturday at Vanguard University.
State Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine), right, passes out T-shirts with Trellis employee Molly Bruland Saturday at a drive-through rally at Vanguard University as part of Love Costa Mesa 2021.
(Rick Raasch)

During a morning drive-through rally, state Sen. Dave Min (D-Irvine) passed out T-shirts alongside Trellis staff members to thank volunteers for participating in the event.

When the signature “Love Costa Mesa” shirts ran out, organizers broke into boxes of #CostaMesaStrong shirts, created in 2020 to support local businesses during the pandemic.

“It was a good day,” Trellis Executive Director Ian Stevenson said Monday. “We had a lot of people who showed up but hadn’t signed up. We had so many volunteers come, we had to tap into last year’s T-shirts.”

Volunteers, including Costa Mesa City Councilman Manuel Chavez, touch up a Shalimar Park painting for Love Costa Mesa 2021.
(Rick Raasch)

Saturday’s turnout eclipsed Love Costa Mesa 2020, which was delayed from May to October and amassed some 300 participants in low-touch or socially distanced projects. Even members of the city council grabbed paint brushes and gardening shears to join in on the work.

To build on this year’s momentum, Trellis would like to keep the citywide day of service but expand outward to create an ongoing “Love Costa Mesa” effort that will centralize needs local to the city and coordinate volunteers willing and able to respond.

“We’re going to move this to a campaign that is more than just a day and make people aware of things they can get engaged in,” Stevenson said.

Members of Dance 4 Joy perform Saturday for volunteers in a lunch at Christ Lutheran Church during Love Costa Mesa 2021.
Members of the nonprofit Dance 4 Joy perform Saturday for volunteers in a lunch at Christ Lutheran Church during Love Costa Mesa 2021.
(Rick Raasch)

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