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Childrens Home invites community to attend festival
At event, families can find out what services the organization offers
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Tondra Stiles fills goody boxes Friday for distribution at today’s United Methodist Children’s Home Community Awareness Festival. - photo by Tom Reed

Community Awareness Festival

What: United Methodist Children's Home, Gainesville district office, introducing its services to community
When: 2-4 p.m. today
Where: St. Paul United Methodist Church, 404 Washington St., Gainesville
How much: Free
Contact: 770-531-3063

Information session for potential foster parents

When: 6-8 p.m. Aug. 30
Where: Blackshear Place Baptist Church, 3428 Atlanta Highway, Flowery Branch
How much: Free

For the last five years, the United Methodist Children's Home of the North Georgia Conference has been quietly providing services and care to local children and families in need.

Today, the group is planning to formally let Hall County residents know all they have to offer with the Gainesville district office Community Awareness Festival. The event will take place from 2-4 p.m. at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 404 Washington St., Gainesville.

"The Gainesville office has been open since 2006, but this is the first time we've had a community festival like this," said Sondra Rogers, Gainesville office supervisor.

"We wanted to do it mainly because we wanted the community to be aware of all the services we offer to families."

The family-friendly festival will include food, live music and door prizes.

"Churches have donated items like school supplies, toys and clothes, so we're going to be giving away those things too," Rogers said.

"Everyone is invited."

Although the actual children's home is located in Decatur, the Gainesville office offers a number of services including free parenting classes, educational counseling and financial assistance for families to help with utility payments and rent.

The nonprofit children's home first opened in Norcross in the late 1800s to care for children orphaned during the Civil War. The home relocated to its current location in Decatur in 1873.

"Since there was such a need for services in Georgia, they decided to open four district offices throughout Georgia," Rogers said.

The other district offices are located in Rome, Dalton and Augusta.

The Gainesville office recently started recruiting and training foster parents.

"We just started offering foster care services because the main office in Decatur realized there was a major need for foster parents in the Gainesville area," Rogers said.

On Aug. 30, the group will hold a foster parent orientation at Blackshear Place Baptist Church, 3428 Atlanta Highway, Flowery Branch.

"This orientation is for individuals who are interested in making a difference in a child's life," Rogers said.

"This is just an informational meeting. We will explain the process, expectations and answer any questions that participants may have."

Although it is not required, organizers would like for interested participants to RSVP for the event by calling the Gainesville office at 770-531-3063.

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