Congregations preparing for 37th Mennonite Relief Sale

Providing relief is Mennonite Central Committee’s focus-relief for tsunami victims, Aids pandemic, war refugees and needy in North American and throughout our world.

Annually more than 70 Kansas Mennonite, Brethren in Christ and Amish congregations organize and donate items and funds making the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale possible. The proceeds of the 37th Relief Sale, scheduled April 8-9, at the Kansas State Fairgrounds, Hutchinson, benefits MCC.

“Each year, the sale is blessed by individuals who freely give of their personal resources and time,” said Becky Blough, Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale publicity chair.

“Speaking with the individuals who donate the items, I hear the comment, ‘I only hope my donation can make a difference for MCC.’ In the eyes of the donors, sometimes what we have isn’t as important as what other people don’t have and that’s the reason behind the Relief Sale.”

Irvan and Evelyn Harms, Moundridge, have donated a tractor to the Relief Sale general auction for the past four years. This year the Harmses are donating a fully restored 1954 McCormick Farmall Cub.

“This is one way to help feed the hungry through MCC, by giving this tractor,” Irvan said.

Highlights of the sale include two auctions: a quilt auction featuring more than 250 hand-crafted quilts and quilt-related items and a general auction featuring a 1954 Cub, a set of Hesston National Finals Rodeo buckles displayed in a hand-crafted table-height case (set includes rare 1974 buckle through 2004), antiques and various hand-crafted Mennonite furniture and children’s toys.

Also being sold (pre-priced) are both international and Kansas craft items, plants, baked foods, cheeses, hams and sausage. Relief sale guests will enjoy a variety of children’s activities plus ethnic and American foods served throughout the fairgrounds.

A 5-kilometer “Run for Relief” is scheduled for 8 a.m., Saturday, at Rice Park (off the fairgrounds.) Contact Amy Schmidt at 316-283-2791 for more information about the run.

The relief sale begins at 4 p.m. Friday, April 8, with food service in all buildings, including a German buffet in the Cottonwood Court.

Auction items may be viewed starting at 5 p.m. along with the purchase of priced items. The general auction opens at 6 p.m. in the Sunflower Building North.

The sale continues on Saturday, April 9, with breakfast service starting at 6 a.m. Sale of priced items starts at 7 a.m. The general and quilt auctions starts at 8:45 a.m.

Sale attendees my view a new traveling quilt exhibit from MCC titled, “Passing on the Comfort: The War, the Quilts and the Women Who Made a Difference” in the Sunflower North Building. The exhibit features quilts made by North American Mennonites and used by refugees in the Netherlands after World War II. It will be touring North American Relief sales through 2007. A replica quilt from the display is scheduled to be sold at the quilt auction.

Friday evening musical entertainment is Jake Schmidt and The Bridge scheduled at 7 p.m. in the Meadowlark Building.

Schmidt, a country/gospel artist, won the first Christian Music Contest in 2004 sponsored by The Wichita Eagle. He and his band have played at variety of local events, including the Republican Assembly Banquet in Wichita.

Schmidt said his music appeals to individuals of all ages. He simply calls it “Music for the Lord.”

Schimdt, a singer/song writer, and his band The Bridge, play a combination of original works intertwined with gospel songs such as “I Believe” and “Where Could I Go But to the Lord,” to contemporary Christian songs authored by Mercy Me, to country hits such as Josh Turner’s “Long Black Train.”

The Bridge members include Doug Yoder, Bob Evenson and Gilbert Sotomayor. The group is named for a song Schmidt wrote titled “The Bridge.” The song’s message is God telling Jesus to build a bridge with the chorus as follows: “All you need to build a bridge..hammer, some wood and three nails.”

The 11th House Against Hunger is located in the Campus Woods Addition in North Newton at 500 Witmarsum West-a project of the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale.

Normally about half of the house’s selling price is donated to MCC. The large profit margin is realized through cash donations, donations of materials and services-either free of charge or at greatly reduced prices-and volunteer labor.

Bruce Ediger of Bruce Ediger Construction Inc., Hesston, served as general contractor.

The Hunger House is listed with Wade Brubacher with Stucky and Associates, Coldwell Bankers, in Newton, 316-283-1330 or wade@stuckyand or online at

The Mennonite Relief Sale is the second largest annual event scheduled at the fairgrounds in Hutchinson.

Last year’s sale generated proceeds exceeding $350,000.

All are welcome to attend the sale. Admission and parking is free.

For more information contact Rod Chrystie, Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale Chair, at 620-662-7406 or go to

Overnight camping is available. For information and fees contact the fair office at 620-669-3600.

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