Now in its 56th year, the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale (NHMRS) is getting set to return to a full in-person event at the fairgrounds on May 27 and 28.
“We are excited to be back at the New Hamburg fairgrounds next week,” said John Reimer, NHMRS organizing team chair.
There are now more than 30 Mennonite churches that support the sale, with some 2,000 volunteers, he notes.
“All the proceeds are given to Mennonite Central Committee. At this point in time, it’s probably over $16 million that we’ve given to MCC through all of these 56 years,” he said.
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The biggest fundraiser at the event is the quilt sale, which usually sees around 200 quilts sold.
“And so we have a Saturday quilt sale that usually sells about $120,000 worth of quilts,” Reimer said.
This includes a feature quilt which this year was made by Renske Helmuth who has made nine feature quilts for the sale, raising more than $130,000 since the year 2000. This year’s quilt, Glimpses of Nepal, is made from fabric that Helmuth bought in that country while on trip with MCC.
The last quilt Helmuth made for the sale sold for $42,000.
“That lets you know the quality – it’s a piece of art. It’s more than just a quilt that you throw in your bed. And so we are excited, anticipating a good auction for that quilt,” said Reimer.
This week a donor will match the amount of the winning bid for the quilt in memory Selina and Tony Brubacher who were both involved with the relief sale.
The relief sale will also feature a traditional hymn singing in the grandstand, St. John Ambulance therapy dogs on Saturday morning and an expanded Kid Zone including a scavenger hunt with prizes of NHMRS treats.
“A lot of people have just lamented that they haven’t been able to have a group singing [during the pandemic]. It’s not going to be four-part harmony, it’s not going to be accompanied. We’re going to have some music and we’re just going to, as I put it, make a joyful noise,” Reimer explained.
Attendees are also being asked to bring emergency items (especially soap) for relief kits and hygiene kits for Ukraine.
“It’s just so exciting just to be back after two years, I think we’re just as excited about going back as our patrons are to come in and enjoy the day. So we’re just inviting anybody and everybody just to come and be outside for a while and enjoy some good food and participate in the day and be a bit social again,” Reimer added.
For more information, see www.nhmrs.com.