Traditional Mennonite treats were a mainstay at the MCC Festival for World Relief at the Tradex in Abbotsford this weekend. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Traditional Mennonite treats were a mainstay at the MCC Festival for World Relief at the Tradex in Abbotsford this weekend. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Charitable Mennonite festival makes successful return to Abbotsford’s Tradex post-COVID

More than $600,000 raised to help feed refugees around the world, more on its way

Mennonite Central Committee BC (MCC BC) held its annual Festival for World Relief over the weekend at Tradex in Abbotsford.

Over $600,000 has been raised so far, with more donations arriving through the following week to support MCC’s work of responding to the global food crisis. The theme for this year’s festival, ‘It starts with a meal,’ reminds us that more than 800 million people globally are currently experiencing food insecurity.

“It was a great experience for us to be together in person with MCC supporters after the hiatus of the past three years,” said Jet Takaoka, MCC BC’s advancement director. “The energy of so many people in the room was infectious. We are especially grateful for the faithful generosity of MCC donors, not just at this festival but over the past two and half years that have been marked by so much uncertainty.”

The festival was busy with people streaming through the doors on Friday night and then again on Saturday. Booths handed out Mennonite favourite like rollkuchen and watermelon, vereniki and sausage and portzelky.

Wayne Bremner, MCC BC’s executive director, welcomed mayor Henry Braun, bringing greetings on behalf of the city. Bremner and Braun held a loaf of bread to depict the work of MCC – meeting basic needs, especially the need for food.

“We are deeply humbled by the passionate support of volunteers and the generous support of donors who helped make this event a success,” Bremner said. “As a result, we will be able to increase our efforts to help vulnerable people impacted by the war in Ukraine and the resulting food crisis in South Sudan, Haiti, Syria and Lebanon.”

In addition to the celebration of Mennonite foods, there was also plenty of entertainment. Roads Unknown, an award-winning Fraser Valley folk group, performed followed by a routine from stand-up comedian, Cliff Prang.

Sales were brisk at the vendor booths which this year included MCC’s quilt shop, a pop-up thrift shop, a fresh produce stand, a plant and flower stand, handmade wooden toys and more.

Young families were welcomed with a large children’s activity area including a climbing wall and bouncy castle. And those athletically minded were given the opportunity to participate in a three-point basketball competition. To learn more about MCC, visit www.mccbc.ca.

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