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Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / DaRon Barfield sets items out at Orchard Park Church on Sunday, December 19, 2021.

The members of Orchard Park Seventh-day Adventist Church packed two of the church's rooms with gifts to bless the community Sunday morning.

The church hosted its second annual "Winter Wonderland" event in which community members could come by the church to pick up gifts for adults and children, including microwaves, bikes, mirrors, toys, decorations and clothes.

Stephanie Athalone stopped by Sunday morning looking for something for her 7-year-old son, who loves trains, cars and books. She said she heard about the event on Facebook and liked that the church offered items for more than just children.

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"This is a very wide selection," Athalone said, standing by an array of large and small space heaters. "I expected to only see kid's stuff, so it was nice they had things for the adults, too."

The church expected between 90 and 100 people to come Sunday as each person had signed up for a 15-minute shopping time between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Charolette Brand, first lady of Orchard Park Seventh-day Adventist Church, said the church did not impose income limits or restrict who could sign up to shop. Some of the items were donated to the church and others the church purchased to distribute. The only rule is to be kind and considerate, Brand said.

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'Winter Wonderland' at Orchard Park Seventh-day Adventist Church

"We just want to be a blessing to our community," she said. "We're grateful for our members and all that they do for our church, and we want to be a channel to be a blessing."

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Church members like DaRon Barfield volunteered Sunday to help people shop and carry items to their vehicles. The church has done a variety of events to give back to community members during the pandemic, Barfield said, including paying for people's gas and groceries on the sabbath.

Rachel Williams-Smith came to pick out some gifts and clothes for her grandchildren, including a 6-month-old and two others under age 5. Being able to ensure each child gets something special is a blessing, she said.

"I don't know how churches and organizations are able to do this, but I'm very thankful," she said.

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Orchard Park Seventh-day Adventist hosts a similar event in the summer as part of a block party to help the community transition back to school and connect residents with local resources.

Contact Wyatt Massey at wmassey@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6249. Follow him on Twitter @news4mass.

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