It was titled “Underground Railroad” and it went for $6,700 as the top quilt of the event, pushing the total raised to $335,000 for the 46th Mennonite Relief Sale held on the fairgrounds here Saturday, May 26.
The weather was perfect, bringing an ever-expanding crowd came to preview quilts, buy new furniture and eat delicious food! On Saturday the crowd swelled once again for the famous quilt auction, Outdoors Auction, Run for Relief and of course, the food! Still, there was plenty of space as friends, relatives and many newcomers enjoyed the convivial atmosphere of charity and generosity. All those present became a community joining hands to help out neighbors around the globe.
A dollar spent was a dollar sent to Mennonite Central Committee as it responds to basic human needs and works for peace and justice around the world. In the last 10 years alone, the Mennonite Relief Sale has raised $3.5 million! As always, all merchandise, quilts, tractor, sporting goods, food and services such as refrigeration by Erb Group of Companies were donated. Fund-raising events and cash donations raised the funds to pay the overhead for this enormous event.
An estimated 2000-plus volunteers prepared the food, the quilts, furniture, etc. These people volunteer year after year because they have a passion for working together to help others and believe that sharing our abundance is crucial. Many volunteers have worked at every Sale for 46 years! Many were refugees themselves who received aid from MCC and Mennonite Churches.
In addition to the top-price quilt, there were quilts in all price ranges, styles and colours. The new furniture auction sold bedroom and dining suites as well as many other smaller items, such as an original painting by Peter Etril Snyder. A refurbished 1958 Cockshutt 540, sold for nearly $5,000. Quilt auction audience members enjoyed the singing of the hymn “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow” following a tribute for Erma Shantz, who died one week before the Sale. Erma, an avid quilter, was the wife of Ward Shantz, the first chairperson of the Relief Sale from 1967 to 1982, and mother of the present chairperson, Ross Shantz,
Children enjoyed entertainment by Ronno, clowns and face painters, mini auction of children’s merchandise and inflatable castles. There was great food of Mennonite and international traditions such as our famous strawberry pie, teaballs, fleisch piroschki, verenki, roll kuchen, fruit pies, apple fritters, pupusas, spring rolls, falafel, BBQ pork, homemade ice-cream, and kettle popcorn to name a few. The “Run for Relief” participants enjoyed the 5km or 2 km walk or run, raising money through sponsorships. Heritage plants and shrubs, perennials, herbs, bedding flowers and baskets attracted many buyers. The water trough and CHANGE board into which to drop pennies created quite a stir at Penny Power.
The feature quilt, “Fiesta” was created by women from the Ottawa Mennonite Church, Ottawa. One of the quilters is a recent refugee from Congo who felt compelled to “give back” to help others in need. Now, the preparations begin for the 47th Sale, and we look forward to the 50th anniversary in 2016 when we hope to raise $500,000.00.
See photo gallery of candid scenes at http://www.canadianmennonite.org/ontario-relief-sale-raises-335000/187
--May 28, 2012