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Shopping to help fill a closet and rebuild lives
Proceeds from Emporium at First Baptist aid Habitat for Humanity of Hall County
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Delenna Gee tries on a hand decorated cadet hat at the Gypsy South booth Friday afternoon during the annual Hearts and Hands Emporium in the banquet hall at First Baptist Church.

Heart and Hands Women’s Ministry Emporium

What: Shopping event benefiting Habitat for Humanity of Hall County

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today

Where: First Baptist Church, 751 Green St., Gainesville

How much: $5, 16 and younger free

Debbie Clark perused the Rahab’s Rope booth Friday, landing on the last Persian-rug-themed bookmark.

The Johnson High School teacher added the item to her bag of finds at the Emporium at First Baptist Church in Gainesville.

“It is such a joy to see the community come together,” said Clark, an Emporium patron since the shopping event began in 2007. “In a world full of negative, (the Emporium) surely is a positive.

“It’s just that God is so good.”

The Emporium features sellers such as Rahab’s Rope from the downtown Gainesville square and designer Riley Clay. A café was sponsored by Skogie’s on Lake Lanier and a Coffee Shop by Lawrence Pharmacy.

The Emporium continues 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. There is a $5 charge for shoppers; children younger than 16 get in free.

Event organizer Jenny Burns said even though the Emporium is sponsored by the Heart and Hands Women’s Ministry at the First Baptist Church on Green Street, it is “solely to benefit the community.”

Each year, a local organization or cause is chosen to be the beneficiary of the proceeds from the Emporium.

“We always pick an organization that benefits women and children,” Burns said.

This year, Habitat for Humanity was chosen because a large majority of the people they aid are mothers with children.

At the Habitat booth, volunteer Shanequa Williams said the money raised will go toward “alleviating poverty in the Hall County area.”

“We are here raising awareness and to spread the word we are looking for more volunteers,” Williams said.

The church’s banquet hall was overflowing Friday with a wide assortment of booths offering home decor, jewelry, clothes and paintings and shoppers trying out different products or catching up with friends.

Around the corner and down the aisle, Clay, a designer with rising popularity among young people, had a booth showcasing products including shirts with phrases like “Jesus saves bro” and “embrace messy hair.”

The faith-based company uses its merchandise to start conversations.

While organizing a rack, brand representative Rachel Bramlett commented on the nature of the products sold, saying all the pieces are “versatile — everyone can find something.”

The event planning staff at First Baptist began to scrutinize vendors in March, looking to choose the best selection to fit the community.

Heart and Hands Women’s Ministry Emporium

What: Shopping event benefiting Habitat for Humanity of Hall County

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today

Where: First Baptist Church, 751 Green St., Gainesville

How much: $5, 16 and younger free

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