The recent MCC Festival for World Relief raised more than $1 million at Tradex. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

The recent MCC Festival for World Relief raised more than $1 million at Tradex. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

MCC Festival for World Relief raises more than $1 million

Annual event in Abbotsford funds projects around the world

The 2017 MCC B.C. Festival for World Relief raised more than $1 million in Abbotsford this past weekend.

More than 200,000 people attended the annual event to support the Mennonite Central Committee’s relief, development, and peace work locally and around the world. This is the second time ever, after last year, that the festival cracked the million-dollar mark – the largest sum of any of MCC’s 38 North American festivals.

The annual Bread of Life auction, which raises funds for food security projects, contributed more than $230,000 to the festival’s fundraising total. This year these donations will support food security projects in Kenya which will assist over 9,000 households.

Riders of all ages and abilities took part in the Saturday morning Pedaling for Hope cyclathon, which raised more than $220,000 in support of maternal and newborn health initiatives in Afghanistan.

The remaining funds that contributed to the $1 million were raised through food, craft, and booth sales as well as other fundraising efforts held at the two-day festival and will support MCC’s work with refugees all around the world.

“The festival has such a rich history and it’s always encouraging to see many volunteers working to make it happen,” said Wayne Bremner, executive director of MCC British Columbia.

“It’s a reflection of the generosity of the Mennonite community here in the Fraser Valley and an affirmation that MCC continues to be trusted to help people who are facing conflict, poverty, and disasters.”

The Abbotsford Relief Festival, which started in 1970, has grown to become a must-attend event for many in the Fraser Valley each September.

More than 1,200 volunteers helped cook and serve a variety of foods, from Mennonite classics like farmers sausage and vereniki to international flavours from some of the 56 countries where MCC is currently engaged in relief, development, and peacemaking work.

In addition, volunteers managed craft booths, silent and live auctions, a kids’ area and more.

“MCC is as busy as ever, with floods in south Asia, hurricanes in the Caribbean, food crises in parts of Africa and the ongoing refugee response in the Middle East as well as other lesser known regions,” said Scott Campbell, advancement director for MCC British Columbia.

“The money raised at this year’s festival will go a long way, but much more is needed.”

Since 1920, Mennonite Central Committee, a ministry of Anabaptist churches, has been meeting basic human needs and working for peace and justice. Currently, MCC is working with partners in over 56 countries, as well as with local partners in Canada and the United States, on projects related to relief, development, and peacemaking.

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