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One Ontario church has experienced the joy in simply giving to their community. Early in June, Immanuel Christian Reformed Church in Cornwall, Ont., hosted “The Big Give,” a community yard sale where nothing was for sale. Everything was given away.

Based on a similar event hosted by churches in nearby Ottawa, Immanuel joined forces with another Cornwall church, Harvest Christian Fellowship, to offer the yard sale, a kids’ activity table, nail painting, a baked goods table, and hotdogs. There were hairdressers giving haircuts and professional photographers taking family portraits, all for free. For those who were not able to bring large items home, they provided delivery service using church members’ trucks.

“It was a lot of fun. It was a full church project and so wonderful to see everyone excited for this,” said Brenda Walker, one of the organizers and member at Immanuel CRC. After advertising on Facebook, Kijiji, and local newspapers, the turnout was tremendous. Before noon, 300 hot dogs had already been served and a baked goods table continuously refilled.

“People started pouring in, and within an hour, 70 percent of the yard sale items were gone,” said pastor Steve Eckersley. “People took what they really needed. It was amazing to see how no one took advantage.” Even professional garage-salers, realizing what this atypical yard sale was all about, were respectful and moved on.

“It was a great way to bond as a church and to bring hope and encouragement for those who came, to show that there are people who really care,” explained Walker.

There are also some new faces in Immanuel’s pews since hosting the Big Give. The church is excited to hold this event again next year. Organizers have already sent out letters to other Cornwall churches to invite them to participate. “We’re called to take care of each other, and by blessing others, we were blessed in return. It was an awesome day!” said Walker.

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