The thousands of hours of work carrying out the annual Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale is done by volunteers. Of all the congregations who help make this effort possible, Community Mennonite Church is among the most actively involved.
Leading the way for the 53rd annual sale, were John and Jennifer Murch and their children – Jonathan, Rebecca, Caroline, and Nicholas. For the fourth straight year they stumbled into a high-humidity fairgrounds building before dawn's early light to guide the production ~15,500 glazed donuts that quickly sold out. The CMC Seniors group earlier peeled ~200 pounds of potatoes used in creating the confectionary delights.
Other CMCers were deeply involved in satisfying salegoers' palates. Adam Yoder ran the Indian food stand, with lamb donated by Matt and Sara Hershberger Gingrich. They served 378 people with lamb and vegetable curry. For many years, Joe Yoder has managed the hamburger, hot dog, and French fries booth that is staffed by the CMC youth groups.
The Green Cup small group at Community staffed a taco booth, offering a vegetarian alternative to the traditional Friday night barbequed beef dinner. A more recent entry, the Mississippi catfish dinner, was headed up by Sam and Vi Miller with the help of many CMC members. Sam is CMC's congregational representative to the relief sale.
Others contributed to the relief sale auction. Retired New Testament professor Dorothy Jean Weaver donated a Middle Eastern dinner that she will prepare and serve (raised $300). Ornithology enthusiast Matt Gingerich and retired biology professor A. Clair Mellinger donated a guided birdwatching (went for $400).
A 41" x 41" vintage feedsack wall hanging pieced by Carmen Wyse and quilted by colleague Mac McArthur-Fox was auctioned for $3,500. A 58" x 48" hand-braided wool rug made by MarthaJune Graber sold for $1,750. She was also part of a CMC Quilters Group that hand-quilted a "Stacked Bricks" wall hanging that went for $200.
Dwight Kauffman spent many hours in his woodworking shop, donating handcrafted items to the auction – a chess and checker set with hand-turned pieces in walnut maple and oak (sold for $260); adjustable rotating shelves ($175); a quilt ladder in cherry ($250); a chest in cherry with seven drawers ($550); a chest with five drawers in cherry ($900); a barrister bookcase, four-shelf stacked unit in black walnut ($1,600); and two two-drawer filing cabinets in spalted maple from a Bluffton University tree ($675 total). A table and two chairs for toddlers in reclaimed walnut made by Jay Hartzler sold for $400. Marv Nisly crafted mission-style bookshelves in white oak that netted $425. Nisly is a member of the relief sale board and helps with the auction every year.
Greg Yoder organized music for the sale and is lining up a Walking Roots Band concert to benefit the relief sale on Dec. 8. Other CMC persons donated baked goods or helped with set up and take down at the sale.
CMC children raised $1,593.75 of the nearly $25,000 received from congregations for the "My Coins Count" project with funds divided between Virginia Mennonite Missions and Mennonite Central Committee.
Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, who serves on the relief sale board, said, "It's amazing – the Virginia relief sale raised almost $400,000 this year in 24 hours, and CMC did its part in making this happen."