by Billy Bass – Horizon News Editor, Photojournalism by Sarah Booth
Whirring generators, the hum of chatting friends, an aroma of baked goods, and the sizzling of fryers in the new years’ cookie shed summon large crowds to the annual Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale at the Kansas State Fairgrounds each April, and many among them are Hesston’s own.
It takes the funds of many willing patrons to really make this benefit a success for MCC. Sophomore Kathryn Leichty explored the sale Friday evening.
“This was my second time going to the Kansas MCC Sale, although I’ve been attending the Virginia Relief Sale for about as long as I can remember,” Leichty said. “Each year, I look forward to going to the sale and feeling like I’m a part of a bigger community that’s doing something good in the world.”
For Leichty, there’s nothing quite like walking into an auction barn with quilts on display, tractors for sale, tables full of potted house plants, and used cookbooks as far as the eye can see.
“Getting to see professors at the sale is also neat,” she said. “ It’s interesting to talk with them outside of a classroom setting.”
Freshman Angus Siemens participated in the sale’s Run for Relief; obtaining the number two spot at the finish line by only .3 seconds to the race’s winner.
“I have always participated in the run when I was eligible,” says Siemens. “I think it’s important to get out of your comfort zone in this context because the MCC sale aids situations of food security crises around the world, as well as conflict. This is one way to help.”
Larks like Freshmen Andre Eanes and Dillon Unruh also placed in the top 20. See theofficial rosterfor times and ranks.
Each year, Mennonites cooperate to bake, sew quilts, prepare knitted caps, and donate various home items for purchase at their closest sale. In Kansas, churches begin preparation in September by recruiting men to drive tractor trolleys to transport fairgoers to the gates during the annual state fair. This volunteerism of many hours allows MCC to use the grounds for their sale each April.
Some of Hesston’s students helped with the preparation for the sale. Students drove tractors for the State Fair, prepared the popular Verenika, fried new year’s cookies, and also helped with sales.
Nicole Loewen participates every year, and wouldn’t miss it.
“The MCC sale is important because it uses all the money it collects for the benefit of others in the name of Jesus. It is entirely run through donations and volunteer work and is designed to be incredibly efficient.”
In fact, the sale raises over $500,000 for relief each year.
“I have met people who have been saved through the work of MCC and they have proven to me the influence we can have as a combined community of believers,” said Loewen. “Even though it is a Mennonite instituted committee and has all the traditions of that mini culture, it’s impact is global and crosses cultural and denominational boundaries.”
As for Leichty, she’ll be going back in the future. “I thoroughly enjoyed the food at the sale! New year’s cookies are a necessity. I would strongly suggest that Hesston students attend if they have the opportunity – it’s a delightful atmosphere filled with friendly people and delicious food.”
You can contribute by volunteering at your local MCC sale, or with the Kansas MCC sale during your time at Hesston, and be part of a longstanding tradition of sharing in feeding the multitude and raising funds to relieve suffering worldwide.
For more information on Mennonite Central Committee’s mission and programs,visit mcc.org.