Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale celebrates exciting news

Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale celebrates exciting news
Photo courtesy of Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale

This Mountain Bluebirds quilt went for $8,000 at the Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale quilt auction. The event raised more than $330,000 for Mennonite Central Committee's global works.


A lot of compassion and quick innovation led to an opportunity for both the Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale and Mennonite Central Committee on Saturday, Aug. 6 during the annual quilt auction at the Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale.

A wall hanging to honor the people of Ukraine was pieced by Kay Shue and quilted by Beth Ressler, their idea for honoring the people of Ukraine, which included a local Ukrainian family now living in Wayne County.

The Murza family — Alex and Nataliia Murza, their son Max, and Alex’s parents Oleg and Katya — was on hand at the auction and helped generate a buzz for the wall hanging. When the bidding stopped, it had raised $1,400 for MCC and the effort to aid those in Ukraine who continue to be haunted by the war there.

However, the push for support wasn’t about to stop but instead was about to gain serious momentum.

Les Gustafson-Zook of MCC attended the auction and had an idea, one that could help the Ukraine support grow exponentially.

“He was there, and when he saw what took place, he asked if he could take the wall hanging to the other MCC Relief Sales, where others could bid to support the effort,” Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale quilt auction coordinator Susan Hofstetter said.

The bidders were attempting to secure a winning bid, not to purchase the wall hanging, but out of their compassion to help others.

Other MCC Relief Sales throughout the nation will now have an opportunity to bid on the wall hanging Shue crafted.

The wall hanging was designed with care and purpose and includes gold color on the bottom symbolizing wheat, Ukraine’s major cash crop. The blue on top symbolizes blue skies dotted with five sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine.

“The wall hanging was tied in with MCC’s efforts in Ukraine, and all of the money raised at this sale and in future sales is to support MCC’s work in Ukraine,” Terry Shue said.

Kay Shue said they knew beforehand this wall hanging couldn’t go to just the Murza family and had to go to MCC’s efforts, but she was glad to play a role in raising funds for that while at the same time knowing the Murza family could help put a face to the trials in the ongoing war at the local level.

“It was very touching when the family was introduced during the auction, and they stood to the side while the bidding was going on,” Kay Shue said. “It was moving, and the crowd recognized them and really showed compassion for them.”

In addition to the wall hanging, auctioneer Steve Chupp also took Blessing Bids, allowing people to add to the purchase that was made by local couple Dave and LeAnn Hofstetter. Those Blessing Bids were simply $100 donations from anyone wishing to support the cause, and that pushed the grand total up to $4,800.

As for the sale in its entirety, Brenda LaTulippe, chairperson, said this year was a banner year, filled with plenty of activities, great food and giving hearts.

“Really, whether people are doing volunteer work or coming to bid, they are all there with giving hearts because they believe in the mission of what MCC is doing,” LaTulippe said.

She pointed out Laurel Hurst, who has operated Quilter’s Corner for the better part of two decades. LaTulippe said that takes a great deal of work, but Hurst has always tackled the job with conviction.

“This was Laurel’s final year, and she has been amazing,” LaTulippe said. “It’s that kind of passion that makes what we do each year possible.”

While the current number is north of $330,000 and rising, LaTulippe said those in attendance were as hungry to eat as they were hungry to bid. She said nearly 5,000 egg rolls were made and purchased, completely selling out. There were only a few pieces of barbecued chicken remaining.

The committee may have to take some advice into account for next year when the sale is making a major change. The 2023 auction will head to the Mt. Hope Event Center, where LaTulippe and many others are excited about having everything under one roof, with air-conditioning to boot.

“It’s going to be a challenge logistically because we have to create a new blueprint, but we are excited about the future in Mt. Hope,” she said. “Wednesday afternoon we were setting up the draping in the ag building, and we were all sweating profusely because it was so hot and humid. It will be nice for us as a committee, the volunteers and the public to be inside in air-conditioning.”

She said people have told them whatever they made in numbers of egg rolls and chicken this year, they better double when they go to Mt. Hope.

Other aspects of the event saw the Blessing Bid auction pull in thousands of dollars for those in need. Blessing Bids are preset prices that are established for a variety of operations such as purchasing sewing machines for women in struggling nations where they can create and sell clothing, water wells or school kits.

LaTulippe said auctioneer Steve Chupp would read each Blessing Bid and then have fun encouraging people to become one of the donors for each one.

“I think we made around $9,000 in Blessing Bids last year, and we will get beyond that number this year,” LaTulippe said. “And that’s people bidding and not getting anything. They just want to help others.”

The My Coins Count project also brought in close to $200,000. While many people and children added coins to the total, many area churches created challenges and drove the giving higher.

As has been the case in the past, that money goes to creating clean water capabilities in struggling nations.

“MCC has a presence in 47 countries, and they have people in place to act quickly once there is a need,” LaTulippe said. “We are humbled and grateful to everyone who helped us make an impact for those people.”

Loading next article...

End of content

No more pages to load