What is the Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale?
It is an organization formed to organize and supervise an annual relief sale and auction for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a nonprofit organization devoted to meeting human needs around the world "In the Name of Christ."
Who sponsors it?
It is sponsored by over 100 churches: Amish, Apostolic, Brethren, Mennonite and Conservative Mennonites in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.
When does it take place?
The annual Relief Sale takes place the first Friday & Saturday of August every year. Friday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. food is available and the booths are open; the evening program begins at 6:30 p.m. Then at 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning, breakfast is served. The 5K Run and Walk start at 8:00. The wood, tool, and art auction starts at 9:00 a.m. The quilt auction starts at 10:00 a.m.
Where is the sale held?
The Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale is held in Wooster, Ohio at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.
How does it work?
The Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale has a policy of selling only donated items. These are brought in prior to the sale. Auctioneers sell simultaneously in two areas. There are also priced and tagged items. Registration is required to bid at any of the auctions. Payment is made at the booths or at the check out location.
What can one expect to find there?
There are 125 or so Amish and Mennonite Quilts plus wall hangings and crib quilts auctioned off in the quilt auction area, and the wood crafted items such as grandfather clocks, chests, games, and furniture auctioned off in a different area. There is usually a live demonstration of quilting. Children's activities include a carnival, jumping house, face painting and games. Open stands offer all kind of specialty foods such as baked goods in the Swiss Pantry Bake Sale, sausage or bratwurst sandwiches, or homemade ice cream. There are thousands of used books, plants and needlework as well as the special MCC display of items shipped in from 10,000 Villages.
What's the atmosphere like?
People say, "It's like a folk festival." "It's a festival atmosphere where people come from communities far and wide to eat, visit, and buy." "It brings people together with a hearty how-do-you-do." "It's a thousand things happening at one time." "The smells of food are wonderful!" "It's love in action."
How many people attend?
It's hard to estimate as no tickets are sold. Entrance is free. It was approximated that around 20,000 attend each year. Of the 43 relief sales found in the United States and Canada, Ohio ranks fourth. Relief sales with higher revenues are believed to have larger attendance. They are Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Michiana.
How much money is raised?
The funds raised during the 2016 Sale totaled $345,116.
What does the MCC do with the money?
The money is sent to Mennonite Central Committee offices located in Akron, Pennsylvania and Winnipeg, Manitoba where the proceeds are sent around the globe. The agency has over 700 volunteers working in around 50 countries. Approximately 8% is used for overhead expenses. All the rest goes directly to relieve hunger, homelessness, disasters caused by flood, wars, famine, earthquakes etc.
How did the Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale get started?
The sale in Kidron began in 1966 in the hometown of Ford Berg, the man who felt a need to address the incongruity of the good life in the "Garden Spot" compared to the squalor in other parts of the world. Christians, he thought, would be willing to make or donate things to be sold at public auctions with the proceed going to a worthy cause. It did not take long for others to hear about the first experiment held in Pennsylvania and to duplicate it in their own communities.