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Labor of Love provides help for needy neighbors
A New Walk Christian Church event distributes food, clothes, haircuts to families
Betty Reese, right, prays Saturday with Teddy and Pebble Miller at the New Walk Christian Outreach event at New Walk Christian Fellowship. - photo by Tom Reed

While most people spend Labor Day weekend camping, watching football or going swimming, members of A New Walk Christian Church are working to help the lives of families in need.

The Gainesville church held its second Labor of Love Community Outreach event Saturday.

"We just believe as other people are having barbecue, we are having a labor of love," Senior Pastor Dewayne Payne said.

Gainesville families were able to come to the church to get free clothes, food, groceries, furniture and haircuts.

Many of the clothes were brand new from a Dickies clothing store in Dawsonville that was closing, Other clothes were donated by families.

Lunch was provided as well as snow cones and games for the children.

Haircuts were given by professional stylists and two church members who just graduated from cosmetology school.

Some 122 volunteers came out to help, according to Associate Pastor Jan Payne, some from other churches. Many were at the church by 7 a.m. ready to lend a hand.

"The volunteers are amazing," Jan said. "I'm blown away."

One of the volunteers helping was the church's outreach pastor, Jerry Deyton. He has worked in outreach at four churches.

"This is my life," Deyton said. "Food ministry and outreach is what is God's call for me. I love it."

The church parking lot was filled with lots of families. Kelly Roberts, a church member and Gainesville resident, was there with her mother, grandmother and 6-year-old daughter, Audrey.

Roberts said the event "... helped with giving us food and clothes. We go to this church, and it's always helpful."

Debra Bell of Gainesville was there with her mother, daughter and granddaughter. She said the event helped provide free groceries for her family.

"My husband has been working for four hours a day." Bell said. "We have no groceries. We've been having a rough time."

Dewayne Payne said he had families come up to him in tears expressing thanks for how much the event helped them.

"I just have a heart for this," he said.

Overall, Jan Payne said the turnout at Labor of Love was "absolutely fabulous."

"We have probably touched over 500 lives at this point," she said.

In addition to Labor of Love, the church provides a food bank on Tuesdays and Thursdays. At Halloween, the church will have Hallelujah Festival in the parking lot with games, prizes, food and candy.

"We're trying to get other churches to set up booths and bring out games," Deyton said.

Deyton said the church is planning to hold a Prayer Walk in November, when community members will walk around downtown Gainesville praying for the town.

"Our mission is Gainesville, Georgia," Jan Payne said. "We're here to fill that need for whatever God sends us to give them."

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