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'Garage Free' grows exponentially

LAWTON,Okla._The Garage Free Event is quickly becoming a staple for giving in the Lawton community. This is the fifth year that the Grace Fellowship Church has hosted the event that has gotten so big, a change of venue was needed.

The line began at the front doors of the annex at the Comanche County Fairgrounds and curved to the opposite side of the building. Everyone waiting patiently for their turn to get free items.

Last year, it was held at the church, but the overwhelming support from the community made them adjust accordingly. Kirk Pearson is the lead pastor of Grace Fellowship Church, he said this event makes everyone involved, feel a little bit better.

"We've had tons of donations, some from the community, but mostly from the incredible people at Grace Fellowship Church,” Pearson said. “They said we want to give, we want to be generous and we want to help people. That's the passion behind this event. We know there is need in our city and we want to help."

It's more than just clothes and dishes. Items such as washers, dryers and televisions were given away, and reasonably so, they were the first to go.

Jamie Southerland is a volunteer for the garage free event, and also the checkout team leader. She said earlier in the day, two people stayed in the long line, so that they could give their tickets away, and left empty handed. That sums up what the event is about.

"It's why we're here,” Southerland said. “That's really what drives our passion to be here early in the morning and go through all the work. It's to see those opportunities that make someone's day."

Despite there being a lot of items people can use for fun, there was also a lot of necessities given away. Pearson said seeing items like shoes, lamps and even car seats go, mean the most to him.

"It's beyond an honor to see those kids who are holding things in their hands that are precious to them,” Pearson said. “It's a gift to them, and they are practical things."

Pearson said he expected they had about 700 people by about 10:30 this morning. To top off the Garage Free Event, at least for the kids’ sake, were Captain America, Elsa from Frozen and a Minion.

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