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Church sponsors day of projects across Gainesville
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Church volunteer Beth Evans pounds nails Saturday at a Habitat for Humanity of Hall County house on Desoto Street as part of First Presbyterian Church’s Local Mission Expo. - photo by NAT GURLEY

At the First Presbyterian Church on Saturday, volunteers gathered to tie the knot.

No marriages were performed, but groups of volunteers helped to make blankets for hospice patients among other service projects during the Local Mission Expo.

From Habitat for Humanity to the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, citizens of all ages spent the day doing some good for the community.

Carol Jewell, volunteer coordinator for Hospice of Northeast Georgia Medical Center, sat around the table knotting the fabric slits of a blanket for a patient. Volunteers with the hospice give blankets while also spending time with patients.

“It makes a huge difference,” Jewell said. “It’s the thought that somebody is thinking about them that doesn’t even know them that wants to give and help out.

More than just physical possessions, volunteers range from veterans helping their fellow servicemen in hospice to attorneys assisting in last wills to cosmetologists giving haircuts. It’s the little things, Jewell said, that make the patients’ days brighter.

“The simplest of things make a huge difference for them, whether it’s a bouquet of flowers, or a blanket or a birthday cake,” she said.

In another room, children and adults wetted paintbrushes and took up their creative side. Hand-painted by volunteers and celebrities alike are given during the Empty Bowl Lunch on Sept. 18, with the donations going to feed the hungry. The group holds the event every September during the Hunger Action Month.

“Everybody receives a bowl as a thank you gift, and a reminder that they helped fill someone’s empty bowl,” Georgia Mountain Food Bank’s volunteer coordinator Phil Dennis said.

A platter by Gov. Nathan Deal and bowls by Zac Brown Band and some Atlanta Falcons are slated for auctions at the event. Boxes of bowls were painted by children for the event Saturday, which Dennis praised as a fun way to get kids involved in community service.

“It’s putting your creativity to real purpose, and that excites me,” he said.

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