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Heart and Hands Emporium provides more than just bargains
Shoppers help local charity at annual event at First Baptist Gainesville
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Shoppers, from left, Pam Treadwell and Gail Buckner eye an assortment of holiday wreaths at the 10th annual Heart and Hands Emporium. - photo by Kayla Elder

Saturday is the last chance to shop the 10th annual Heart and Hands Emporium two-day extravaganza. Thanksgiving hand towels, Christmas wreaths, jewelry, clothing, toys and baked goods are among the large selection at First Baptist Gainesville’s vendor marketplace.

Hosted by the Heart and Hands women’s ministry of the church, all funds raised during the emporium will go to Family Promise of Hall County to help fight family homelessness.

“Everything that we raise goes straight to the nonprofit,” said Rev. Jenny Burns, member of Heart and Hands and associate pastor of preschool and special ministries.

Heart and Hands Emporium

Where: First Baptist Gainesville, Banquet Hall

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 14

How much: $5, children 16 and under are free

Each year, the women of First Baptist Gainesville carefully select a local nonprofit that enhances the lives of women and children. In the 10 years of hosting the emporium, Heart and Hands has raised and donated $160,000.

“It is exciting to look at that number and know it has gone toward helping people and changing lives,” Burns said. “To give people a hand up that would normally not have that opportunity, and to know that it helps someone and makes a difference to make tomorrow a little easier for them, I love it. I love watching that number grow.”

Family Promise of Hall County opened in 2012 to help the community end the cycle of family homelessness by helping families build a stable home and sustainable income.

“In Gainesville, homelessness is a problem; there is no affordable housing and it’s something that needs to be addressed,” Burns said. “We thought now is the time to bring awareness to it and Family Promise is a great way to do that because they are actually trying to find a way to fix the problem.”

Burns said donating to Family Promise is the way to address homelessness.

“They are not just housing people in a shelter, then 24 hours later sticking them back out on the street,” Burns said. “They are providing the education, support, classes, child care and housing that people need so that when people graduate from the program they can be self-sustaining.”

Last year, Heart and Hands raised about $24,000 for Whispering Angels Youth Ranch. This year’s monetary goal is $25,000.

“We always like to beat it. We need everyone to come shop because the $5 ticket cost goes straight to Family Promise,” Burns said. “The money we raise from all of our donated baked goods goes to Family Promise as well. As long as we can raise more money, they get more money.”

The Gainesville Banquet Hall at First Baptist Gainesville will be full of more than 65 vendors selling their wares.

“We host this event because we want to make a difference in our community. We don’t want to be a group of women that only do things for ourselves,” Burns said. “This event is made and designed to be completely given away; we give the vendors a chance for their local business to grow, to share what they are able to do.”

Burns said there is a “large variety” and “something for everyone for sure.”

First time vendor Shannon Peterson, who makes custom wood pallet signs, said she enjoys “seeing all the people.”

“I like that it is indoors and everyone seems excited about the crafts and the Christmas time coming up,” Peterson said.

The first emporium donation recipients, Rehab’s Rope, has been a vendor every year since.

“It is very community oriented and going to help the community,” Founder and CEO Vicki Moore said. “The women’s ministry here is an incredible group of ladies that are very involved in and supportive of the community.”

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 14 at the church, 751 Green St. NW. Entrée tickets are $5 and children 16 and under get in free.

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