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Gainesville First United Methodist Church members gather for Great Day of Service
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Jim Hammock, Lila Francis and Caryl Hammock work on painting an enclosure Saturday at the Hall County Animal Shelter during Gainesville First United Methodist Church’s annual Great Day of Service. The day of service started at 9 a.m. and various teams from the church spread out to tackle different tasks across the Gainesville community. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Nearly 500 people spent Saturday morning working on volunteer projects for Gainesville First United Methodist Church’s Great Day of Service.

A total of 483 volunteers donated their Saturday mornings to the Great Day of Service, now in its ninth year. Organizers said the number of volunteers has grown each year.

Projects took volunteers across Gainesville and Hall County including the Hall County Animal Shelter and the Georgia Mountain Food Bank. Members of the group put down mulch and painted enclosures for animals.

Groups sorted food for the food bank’s upcoming mobile pantries as well as painting bowls.

“We let them move around freely between the three stations, and we had a great time,” said Kay Blackstock, executive director of the food bank.

Blackstock said a diverse mix of members came through on the day of service to help out around the Calvary Church Road center.

“Lots of good energy, everybody left smiling,” she said.

Out on Desota Street, volunteers got their hands dirty while working on the build site for Habitat for Humanity.

“They’re sweating and laughing as we go,” said Hall County Habitat for Humanity building director Tim Williams. “It’s getting toward the end of the day, so there’s not as much laughing anymore. Everybody’s getting tired.”

Participants in the service day worked on the exterior paint and planting sod in the front of the house.

“They really have done a great job today,” Williams said. “They’ve been here all day long.”