All items at the used book booth are sold by donation – some give a few dollars per book, some give a few dollars for a whole bag. This year one woman came up with a handful of books, and when considering her donation asked, “Now, what does the money go for?” Booth co-manager Dave Hockman-Wert talked about Mennonite Central Committee’s work providing food and clean water, developing communities, and peacebuilding…. and the woman handed him a $100 bill.
· Hawaii Sampler pieced by Gina Hansen and quilted by Zion Mennonite ($2,400)
· Celtic Knot in teals and greens, pieced and quilted by Salem Mennonite ($1,850)
· Lone Star Variation by MCC Material Resources Center ($1,800)
· Blazing Star Tulips in green, brown, and tan batiks, purchased in Pennsylvania and quilted by Portland Mennonite ($1,750)
· Stars in the Garden by West Coast Quilt Room & Anita Lindberg, quilted at summer quilting bees ($1,500)
· 30’s Stars hand pieced in the 1930s and quilted by Albany Mennonite ($1,000)
Top Quilt Challenge project:
· Peek-a-boo kitten by Dianna Eshleman ($800)
At this special time of year, here’s a shout-out of grateful thanks to all those who contributed to the 2014 Oregon Mennonite Festival for World Relief. We praise God for this wonderful opportunity to work together to help people in need. Through our united efforts, this year’s festival raised $128,000 for Mennonite Central Committee, with additional funds raised at the dinner concerts held this summer.
Every year, it is amazing to see this all-volunteer effort in action. It could not happen without the commitment and generosity of literally hundreds of people.
We wish we could thank each individually, but here are few we just have to mention:
The auction crew: our fantastic auctioneer Brad Caldwell and his head spotter Jeremy Gillis; the donation transport/set-up crew including Warde Hershberger, Richard Kropf, and Lynn Miller; Charlene Schultz, Joanne Mitchell, and their team of clerks and cashiers; silent auction leads (and more) Don and Judy Bacher; projection technician Jon Dilbone; announcers Dianna Eshleman, Pat Hershberger, Cynthia Hockman-Chupp, and many more volunteers.
Our quilters: talented sewers blessed with skilled fingers and artistic hearts, plus all those who helped display these handcrafted treasurers at their best, including Larry and Karen Graber, Maurice and Joan Imhoff, Jerry Barkman, Pat Hershberger, and Alice Hill.
All our generous donors, including our woodworkers. An anonymous donor made the quilt auction especially exciting this year by providing matching funds for pre-selected quilts if they reached a certain bid. More than $3,000 was raised through “blessing bids” in the auction, plus $1,000 for a pan of cinnamon rolls made by festival chairman Ron Litwiller.
Speaking of baking…
Cooks and bakers, including the incredible George and Aimee Hunt (see next page). Many of our booth leads have been volunteering for the festival for more than 20 years, such as Booney and Chanh Syravong (1,200 homemade spring rolls per year!), Gary and Brenda Burch (breakfast managers, who have donated this food), and Karen and Rich Kropf (sausage). It was a special treat this year to enjoy pozole and homemade tortillas from Comunidad Cristiana de Vida Neuva and Salem Mennonite Church.
Some extra special business partners: Fair Trade Gifts and Décor in Lebanon manages their own booth and provides invaluable promotion leading up to the event. Mennonite Village has been doing more and more: providing soups, sack lunches, the beverage trailer, extra refrigerators, storage for auction items, golf carts and volunteers to drive them. Friends from Fry Road Nursery have long run the Garden Shop. And for years, Cascade Casework (formerly Lemons Millwork) in Albany has provided storage in between festivals while Stan Boshart and his crew from Boshart Trucking and SJB Farms in Tangent provide and move the straw bales.
All our other volunteers, including store managers, children’s activity leaders, the Festival String Band, massage therapist Hannah Field, set-up/clean-up crews, and a group of 18 students from Western Mennonite School.
Fall happens. Just as leaves predictably change colors each year, my family’s autumnal life follows a set pattern. There’s a new-school-year schedule to conquer, harvest-inspired outings to attend and events that of course we’re not going to miss. The Festival for World Relief is one such event.
To quote a bumper sticker, we are challenged to “Think Globally, Act Locally.” Simply put, the festival makes that philosophy a reality, simply.
Why simply? Well, you could say the festival lacks the bells, whistles and technology of modern happenings. You could also hail that as its most endearing quality.
For the little ones, the fun starts in the parking lot: the free golf cart shuttle.
As we enter the large expo building, the sights, sounds and smells welcome us like family. Fresh hay bales serve as decor and seating. Home-baked goods fly off tables until they are replaced with “sold out” signs. “Stores” offer everything from local, homemade cheeses to global, Fair Trade treasures.
On our way to the children’s area and get our scavenger hunt list, we can’t help but join the small crowd that’s gathered around a bluegrass trio. Their sound mingles with the conversations of old friends uniting and new friends meeting.
With the scavenger clues in hand, my organized child says, “We’ll start in the other building by the plants and quilts.”
It’s a good plan unless you’re little and standing right next to a hay maze, a craft table and a number of other tempting activities.
“Just one time through,” the little sister bargains.
I can’t fault her. A few minutes later, I’m making the same promise as we pass by Ten Thousand Villages. Yes, I know the world market will be there all day, but not every item will. I want to see what they have now … and later.
A short breezeway connects the festival’s two sections. Someone kindly holds the door open for us, and we enter the second building. There are rows and rows of silent auction goods, the warp speed ramblings of a real-life auctioneer and … the quilts.
Quilts are our reason for hurrying to the building. Soon, they will be taken down from display and auctioned off. Some people peruse the works of art to get an idea of what they’ll bid for. Those of us who can’t afford to bring one home just admire.
Some are the work of Mennonite Church quilting groups. Some are donations from generous individuals. One is a gift from Amish Country. And though their stitches and patterns are anything but simple, they are a preservation of simpler times.
My daughters move to the plant section to locate a scavenger hunt answer while I finish up my quilt gawking. The answer they find is about water. Or more specifically, it’s a startling statistic about people who lack drinkable water.
My older daughter shows me the number and says, “Can you believe that?” She’s old enough to grasp reality, old enough to appreciate MCC’s efforts to make things better an dold enough to “think globally.”
Back in the main building, we hear an announcement: “Children’s Auction in 10 minutes.”
Stop the presses and the scavenger hunt. To quote my 5-year-old, “My favorite thing is where you vote on toys, and sometimes you get to buy them like last year I got my science set and my cupcake set.”
Kids raise their numbers. Parents help older kids know when to bid and stop younger kids from waving their numbers aimlessly. The auctioneer moves things along at a quick but easy-to-understand pace. Everyone who perseveres leaves with a treasure.
After the auction, we wrap up the scavenger hunt, head back where it started, and my little one gets to pick a small prize.
Then she gets an even greater reward: time in the kid zone. She throws bean bags at a target, makes a bookmark, runs through the hay maze and joins her cousins who are digging in the grain-filled kiddie pool.
“What’s Jo doing?” she asks when she notices that her older sister has moved on.
“She’s filling the school bags.” I continue. “They’re for kids in other parts of that world that don’t have school supplies.”
“Like for kids in Bangladesh and Africa?” she asks. Then, before I can answer, she adds, “I want to do that.”
We choose “the prettiest” hand-sewn bag and start filling it with a specified number of notebooks, pencils and so on.
“Now can we eat lunch?” my middle daughter asks when the clock tells us it’s time.
The food at the festival is worthy of its own column … or maybe a love sonnet. However, lacking the space to do it justice, I will say that it is homemade, delicious and reminiscent of Grandma’s cooking.
We leave with stomachs full of food, bags full of purchases and thoughts full of what really matters. Each fall, we’re thankful for this fun and delicious opportunity to “act locally,” and our next opportunity is Saturday.
Throughout the year, hundreds of people work together to make a difference around the world. Many volunteer opportunities are still available!
Especially needed are folks who are:
Good with chairs, books (set up), or brooms (clean up): Tasks ranging from setting up tables and chairs to organizing used books. Report to the Willamette Building at 9 a.m. or anytime thereafter on Friday. Book sorting starts around 10 a.m. Cleanup crew is also needed. Jobs include low-impact tasks like sweeping. Starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Contact Larry Passmore: 541-752-1561, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good with displays, presentations, and watching the clock (auction set up and implementation): On Friday extra hands are needed to hang up quilts then take them down Saturday as the auction proceeds. Contact Margery Barkman: 503-266-7854, email@example.com. Assistants also needed to run the main auction and silent auction on Saturday, starting at 8 a.m. Contact Tim Steiner, 503-381-6436, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good with kids (children’s activities): Assist with craft activities and the children’s scavenger hunt. One hour shifts take place on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Contact Heather Gingrich: 503-318-9550, email@example.com.
Good with money (food booths): In lieu of tickets each food booth will have a cash box this year, so we need people to take money and make change. One or two hour shifts on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Contact Barb Buxman: 503-522-5324, firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ ATTENTION KIDS ~
Good with art (decorating food bags): Sack lunches will be available for children this year, and kids are needed to help decorate the bags -- maybe on the festival’s water theme? Contact Julia Todd, 541-258-3581, email@example.com.
· Friends and family!
· Penny Power donations: Look for the giant penny and a new Penny Cyclone
· Baked goods: Quick and yeast breads, dinner rolls and zwieback, cookies, brownie, pretzels, pies, homemade cereals – anything except cream-based and other refrigerated fillings. Deliver to the booth in the Willamette Building.
· School kits and school kit items: Deliver to the booth in the Willamette Building.
· Checkbook (or credit card) and cash; food purchases will be with cash this year instead of tickets
· An appetite! Look for a new food booth offering posole, a savory Mexican stew, with homemade tortillas! (Thanks, Comunidad Cristiana de Vida Nueva and Salem Mennonite Church!)
· Reusable shopping bags for your purchases
· Cooler for goodies to take home
· A generous heart
The Oregon Mennonite Festival for World Relief is coming up soon on October 11! Your gifts make this event successful, and make life better for neighbors worldwide.
Here’s how to make your contributions this year.
Auction and silent auction: Top sellers include vacation packages, handcrafted wooden items, tickets to cultural or sporting events, and new household items. Bring all auction items to the Santiam (not Willamette) Building at the Linn County Fairgrounds on Friday. For the main auction, please contact Tim Steiner in advance to let us know of your donation: 503-381-6436, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children’s auction: Small items for kids ages 12 and under. Deliver to the Willamette Building on Friday or drop off on the morning of the festival. Contact Maria Steiner: 503-348-0256, email@example.com.
Country Store: Best sellers are usually wearables and consumables (rather than decorating items) such as fresh garden produce, soap, jewelry, granola, noodles, dried fruits, dried flowers. (Please note the festival cannot sell home-canned foods.) Deliver to the booth in the Willamette Building on Friday for pricing. Contact Denise Diller: 541-704-0451, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Books: Deliver used books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, and other media to the booth in the Willamette Building on Friday for sorting. Donations of shopping bags are also greatly appreciated. Contact Dave Hockman-Wert: 541-752-0444, email@example.com.
Marta’s Haus: Donations including fabric, sewing notions, yarn, craft materials, quilt and craft books and magazines, even unfinished projects need to be delivered to Fairview Mennonite in Albany (541-928-1067) for pricing by the end of September. Contact Julie Miller: 541-740-7669.
Garden Shop: Deliver plants to the Santiam Building on Friday. Contact Ann Detweiler: 541-928-7038.
Also wanted: Your prayers for a safe and successful festival.
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