The tallying is still underway, but it looks like the $700,000 goal is in sight after the annual MCC Festival for World Relief was held at the Tradex on Friday and Saturday.
Angelika Dawson of the Mennonite Central Committee communications department said the tally was at $650,000 on Monday, while volunteers were still counting cash.
The auction on Saturday morning began with the traditional, symbolic auctioning of a loaf of bread, which brought in $180,000 from a multitude of combined bidders.
A quilt auction, which is always a highlight of the event, raised $21,075 with 19 quilts sold.
The funds support MCC’s relief, development and peace work in more than 60 countries around the world, and this year there is a focus on food relief for famine in North Africa, and war-torn Syria.
People attend to donate, to shop, for entertainment, and certainly for the food. There were 25,200 vereniki (Russian perigees) consumed, 1,600 pounds of farmer sausage and 466 pies served with 75 buckets of ice cream.
Relief sale coordinator Dora Hoeppner was encouraged by the thousands of people who attended, and the thousands more who volunteered.
“What an inspiring sight to see thousands of happy people under one roof, enjoying themselves, visiting and spending money, and at the same time doing it all for a hungry world in the name of Christ,” she said.
This year the event included the Pedaling for Hope Cyclathon, which saw 86 riders cycle either 20 or 40 kms and raise over $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 that the cyclathon effectively raised $180,000.