Back to the Fairgrounds for the 2021 Relief Sale
by Tim Jost
Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale volunteer
The 2021 Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Relief Sale is scheduled for October 1 and 2. After the 2020 virtual Relief Sale, we are hoping to be back at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds this year. The extent the relief sale can be in-person will depend on safety guidelines at the time.
We may, for example, have to move some indoor activities to outdoors and will leave ample space for social distancing. It will also depend on whether volunteers feel comfortable with participating in an in-person sale. The Relief Sale Board hopes to make a feasibility determination soon, subject to future adjustment.
The auction will again be online with online bidding. We may supplement this with a live auction, with online bids. We plan to have a variety of food choices available and possibly meals. Our ability to do so, however, will depend, again, on who is able to prepare and serve the food. We do not expect to have drive-through service alternatives, as we did in 2020. Apple butter boiling will be September 18.
Whatever we do, you are welcome to donate money. In 2020, we sent our largest donation ever to MCC: $327,556.29. We were able to do this in large part because we received over $126,000 in donations, more than we raised through the auction.
Donations can be made directly to the Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale:
https://vareliefsale.com/donate or mail to 601 Parkwood Dr., Harrisonburg, 22802, or through Sharing our Surplus (SOS).
SOS was formed to help the Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale raise additional funds for world relief through having a donation table for cash, check or credit card contributions. The proceeds augment funds the Relief Sale raises through auction and food sales, with all SOS proceeds going directly to MCC for refugee relief needs. You will have an early opportunity to contribute by participating in the SOS walk on August 29.
In light of ongoing and ever more pressing needs, this year’s SOS effort hopes to raise even more funds to forward to MCC, in much of the same way as liberal and “cheerful” fundraising for foreign relief was done by believers in the first century.
In Paul’s second letter to the churches at Corinth, he urges them to raise much-needed funds for fellow believers experiencing a famine in Judea, some 800 miles away. Given the differences in modes of travel and communication, that would have been a far greater “distance” than the farthest location of any “foreign” needy and displaced persons in our world today.
The Greek word for “cheerful,” by the way, is hilaron, the root of the English word “hilarious.” A world in great need would be blessed by some truly hilarious giving this year on the part of those of us who have been blessed beyond measure.