Nebraska Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) was born in 1920 in
response to hunger and related human need brought on by war and
revolution in Russia and the Ukraine
By Laurie Pfeifer & Steve Swazo
Aurora, Nebraska, April 10, 2003
"Sell what you have and give to those in need."
Following the same motto they have for the past 23 years, Mennonites
from across Nebraska donated quilts, crafts, art, antiques and food
products, then turned right around and bid on them during the 24th annual
Nebraska MCC Relief Sale in Aurora this weekend.
When the auctioneers gavel hit for the final time, the MCC committee had
totaled up $135,000 for world relief -- some of which will be earmarked for
relief kits, school kits and cash funds that will go to Iraq.
From the sale of the ceremonial loaf of bread that opened the craft
auction at 8 a.m. Saturday, bringing in $65, to the handmade quilts that
brought as much as $2,500, the bids were generous and the bidding often
For 24 years now, hundreds of visitors have made their way to Aurora to
attend the Nebraska Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Craft and Quilt
It was no different this year for the event which began Friday night
with a soup and pie supper and ended Saturday afternoon after raising more
According to MCC treasurer Lelan Thieszen, what a difference 12 hours
"I thought the auction went very well," Thieszen said. "There was active
bidding throughout the day. What a difference 12 hours make as the Lord was
looking out for us."
Thieszen was referring to the spring snow storm that dumped more than
six inches of snow in the area on Sunday afternoon.
The Friday night auction brought in a total of $3,666, including
proceeds from a soup and pie supper.
A homemade bug box -- a small mailbox shaped box with a wood frame
and screen cover -- brought $40. A few minutes later, an identical bug box
An MCC coffee mug, complete with free refills, brought $12.50.
A vice grip man brought $230, a tool box donated by Men's Brotherhood
from the Beatrice Mennonite Church sold for $130.
A detailed barn with stalls, a fence and horses from the craft auction
sold for more than $1,000.
Among the other craft items that were auctioned off were a Quaker-style
rocking chair, a stained glass window, some oak shelves and some Amish-made
furniture, other wood crafts, handpainted miniature tea sets, MCC caps,
artwork, antique toys.
But it was at the premier event, the quilt auction, where applause broke
as bidding broke the $1,000 mark several times and the $2,000 mark at least
three times. Quilt #39, "Country Love" in burgundy and greens, was donated
by Beatrice Mennonite and First Mennonite of Beatrice and sold for $2,025
Quilt #51, "Angel Rose" was appliqued and quilted by the Amish and donated
by Elva Janzen of Bethesda Mennonite in Henderson. The 98x108 inch quilt
sold for $2,500.
The total amount raised from quilt sales was $34,908 while the craft
auction brought in an estimated $40,745.
The children's auction that was held Saturday afternoon raised a total
of $1,726 and the total raised from concessions raised more than $48,000.
Bidders and spectators had their fill of food during the two-day event.
Mennonite organizations manned the food booths selling funnel cakes,
cinnamon rolls and New Years Cookies inside the Farr Exhibit Hall.
While women were kept busy mixing the batter of eggs, milk, flour,
yeast, baking powder and raisins, the men were deep fat frying the round
balls of batter in oil before they were glazed or sugared and sold.
They made 75 batches of 50 New Year Cookies -- a fritter-like food item
that was selling nearly as fast as they could be made.
Outside the Ag Auditorium, charcoal was being used to cook thick Windsor
loins and chicken breasts.
Inside the 4-H Building it was verenika, plumamoss, cole slaw and ham
cream gravy that was being prepared.
Henderson residents Lenora Goertzen and Adeline Huebert, now in their
eighth year as chairpersons of the verenika meal, said 5,000 of the dough
bundles filled with cottage cheese were made last week and then frozen.
"We cook and serve about 3,000 and the rest are packaged and sold
frozen," Huebert explained. "A package of two dozen will bring $35 or $40
so that's where we make the most money," she added.
Along with the verenika, they serve plumamoss -- a fruit soup with
raisins and prunes.
The two women enlisted the help of 35 women to make the verenika
Monday and another 35-40 people volunteered to help in the kitchen and
on the serving line Saturday.
MCC was born in 1920 in response to hunger and related human need
brought on by war and revolution in Russia and the Ukraine.
Mennonite members from more than 11 states were in attendance for the
"This year we had people from Nebraska, South and North Dakota,
Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and Florida attend the
auction" Thieszen said. "We also had someone give us a New York phone
number so they could bid on some items."
Today, MCC has more than 900 personnel serving two and three year
assignments in 50 countries, including volunteers and staff in North
America. MCC's work includes providing material aid such as wheat, beans,
clothing and medical supplies to meet emergency needs, as well as
agricultural development and water conservation projects to improve life in
local communities and overseas.
Aurora News Register, Aurora, Nebraska, April 19, 2003
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