The annual MCC Festival for World Relief held at the Abbotsford Tradex last weekend on Sept. 7 and 8 raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the Mennonite Central Committee's relief, development and peace work in more than 60 countries.
The busyness began Friday night with hundreds of youths packing Tradex.
The children - and their parents - did their part with their very own auction of kid-friendly items, raising more than $2,200. The silent auction later that night raised thousands more.
One of the success stories of the weekend was the Pedaling for Hope cyclathon, which saw 86 riders cycle either 20 or 40 kilometres and raise more than $90,000 for the food crisis in the African Sahel.
Organizer Jon Nofziger was thrilled with the turnout - more than double the riders from last year - and that so many new people participated in the event.
The Canadian government will match donations for the Sahel until Sept. 30, meaning the cyclathon effectively raised $180,000.
Saturday morning's auction began with the traditional, symbolic auctioning of a loaf of bread, which also brought in $180,000 from a multitude of bidders.
The quilt auction, which is always a highlight, raised $21,075 with 19 quilts sold.
Auctioneer Clyde Dougans encouraged bidders by giving them a different perspective on their dollar.
"Who cares what the value of the dollar is? It's what you do with your dollars that makes a difference and buying this quilt will make a difference because you know your dollars are going to help people in need all around the world," he said.
The highest-selling finished quilt, More than Hearts and Roses, sold for $4,000. That amount was matched by the auctioneers, making it the highest selling quilt overall.
Thousands of pennies are still being counted and rolled from the Penny Power booth.
The coin drive this year supported farmers in Laos.
While it will take time to tally up all the donations, the initial count is very encouraging - indicating that the MCC Festival for World Relief has raised more than $650,000 to help people in need all around the world.
"On behalf of those who will benefit from the efforts this weekend, we want to say thank you to all who came, shopped, donated and volunteered," relief sale coordinator Dora Hoeppner said.
Learn more about MCC's work here at home and around the world when you visit bc.mcc.org.
Festival Fast Facts:
- Approximately 100,000 food tickets were sold
- 25,200 vereniki were consumed (vereniki are Russian perogies filled with cottage cheese)
- 1,600 pounds of farmer sausage was eaten
- 466 pies, cut into 2,796 pieces, were served with 75 buckets of ice cream
- Nearly 7,000 pounds of fruit, vegetables and grains were brought in from the Okanagan region and were added to the local donations of produce - and all of it sold out