ESCONDIDO — A nonprofit organization is proclaiming its love for the community through various acts of service and celebration throughout February.
Love Esco, a group dedicated to spreading love and kindness throughout Escondido, is encouraging locals to participate in a series of community service projects lined up throughout February.
The group also plans to host its first Love Esco Day this Saturday, Feb. 3, as a kickoff to the month of service ahead. The party will be held in Grape Day Park from 8 to 10 a.m., with special appearances from Escondido locals, including World Cup Champion Shannon MacMillan and radio host Jesse Lozano, free food from local restaurants, giveaways, entertainment and dozens of nonprofit organizations sharing how to get involved.
“This is the first citywide volunteer day that’s ever happened,” said Love Esco organizer and board member Lillian Arjona Garzon.
Garzon explained that Love Esco Day will also help highlight other groups striving to make a difference in their community.
“Many people are not aware of the hidden gems of our city, so we’re really using that day to highlight them,” she said.
According to Garzon, the group is organizing about 35 different service projects throughout the month, with 10 of them taking place on Love Esco Day following the morning festivities.
Beyond beautifying the community, Love Esco Day and Month also reflect the organization’s overall goals behind the effort.
Love Esco began in 2021 when Emmanuel Faith Community Church members sought to re-engage with the community following the COVID-19 pandemic. After more than two years of various projects, the group has mobilized more than 2,000 volunteers, accumulated more than 10,000 hours of service and completed more than 50 projects.
“We thought, ‘What would it look like if we spread positivity?’” Garzon said. “Escondido sometimes has a negative rap, which makes it easy to complain about – but there’s a lot of really cool people who have really invested and worked on making a positive impact here.”
The group has also partnered with the city, Interfaith Community Services, Escondido Union School District, Alabaster Jar Project, Neighborhood Healthcare, police and fire departments, San Diego Humane Society, Escondido Chamber of Commerce and many others.
The Escondido Art Association, a fellow partner, is helping Love Esco celebrate the month with a booth at the kickoff party to showcase its artists and share about its art education opportunities.
EAA is also accepting art submissions for its February “Seeing Red!” exhibition, which showcases art featuring themes of love and its symbolic color to be judged by local artist and teacher Igor Koutsenko, who will also serve as the demonstration artist for EAA’s Live Art Demo in at the California Center for the Arts on Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m.
“We are excited to support Love Esco with our theme and participation, as they are making a real impact in our community,” said EAA President Tokeli Baker. “At EAA, our mission is to touch and inspire others through art and creativity so our participation in Love Esco’s events all month long is a great way for us to do that.”
To sign up for Love Esco Month service projects, visit www.serve.loveesco.org.