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First Presbyterian Church to host annual Mission Expo
Volunteers to offer time and support to area charities Aug. 29
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Carol Jewell, right, of Hospice of Northeast Georgia Medical Center, talks Aug. 16, 2014, with volunteers making a knotted fleece blanket at First Presbyterian Church’s 2nd annual Local Mission Expo. “It’s very soft fabric on a patient’s skin, and very warm,” Jewell said of the “no-sew blankets.”

Local Mission Expo

When: 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., August 29

Where: 800 S Enota Dr NE, Gainesville

More info: fpcga.org/welcome or 770-532-0136

First Presbyterian Church of Gainesville has dedicated thousands of hours in the past two years to celebrate area mission projects and help organizations reach their goals by donating their time. They hope to continue the same tradition this year.

Volunteers will team up with 26 local charities at 8 a.m. today for the third annual Local Mission Expo at the church at 800 S. Enota Drive NE in Gainesville.

“We’re not asking you for any money,” Jack Spencer said. “What we’re asking for is your time.”

Spencer, chairman of the First Presbyterian Local Mission Expo, has been a member of the church for 11 years and helped coordinate this year’s expo.

Awards for last year’s service will be given out and five of the recipients from last year’s volunteer efforts will speak and give a testimonial. In August 2014, volunteers helped construct blankets for hospice patients among other service projects.

This year, charities such as Habitat for Humanity, Center Point, Good News at Noon and Eagle Ranch will set up a table in the church and provide information about their organizations to potential volunteers seeking to give of their time.

The purpose of this expo is to pair volunteers with organizations they may be interested in or introduce them to new local organizations.

Habitat for Humanity builds homes for underprivileged families in Hall County with the assistance of volunteers. The nationwide organization also has a “ReStore,” a place where people can purchase used items such as home furnishings and clothing. All proceeds go toward Habitat.

Good News at Noon provides meals for the homeless and others in need through a ministry program, as well as tutoring and mentoring.

Center Point is an organization created by the First Presbyterian church and a few other local churches in 1967. It provides counseling and mentoring for students that need positive adult role models.

Center Point Executive Director David Smith said the nonprofit has substance abuse prevention programs and works with the Boys & Girls Club of Hall County, among other programs.

“Our mission is to promote success with children, students and families through their own personal development and education,” Smith said.

Church committee member Susan Nish volunteers with Center Point.

“We will go out into the community and work with these agencies,” Nish said. “We will help paint, clean, and do yard work around the agencies.”

Volunteers run the gamut of veterans helping their fellow servicemen in hospice to attorneys assisting in last wills to cosmetologists cutting hair.

“We are a very mission-minded church,” Spencer said.

With a goal of 16,500 volunteer hours for this year, Spencer’s statement rings true. The church gathered 85 volunteers in their first year alone. Last year, 191 individuals signed up and completed 12,200 hours of service.

Spencer and the other committee members hope they can reach their goal of 250 volunteers this year.

Volunteers don’t have to live here or be a member of the church to help out, Spencer said. But he said he knows potential volunteers have busy schedules.

To facilitate their participation in the Missions Expo, the church will conduct a kid’s camp for the volunteer’s children. During the expo, kids can participate in the volunteer efforts by baking cookies for area firemen and scatter seeds for the Redbud Project.

The Missions Expo will run until 10:30 a.m. at the church. Then the volunteers will head out to fulfill their duties.

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