Church of the Brethren Disasters Ministries, based in New Windsor, coordinates disaster relief projects all over the country, and even the world. Recent projects have included helping home owners in North and South Carolina rebuild after flooding related to Hurricane Matthew, according to Jeff McKee.
“However, Hurricane Florence came through this past fall and caused additional damage and in some cases damaged homes we had already repaired,” he said. “They are taking additional steps to raise some of these homes to prevent flooding in the future.”
McKee is the chairman of the disaster auction committee of the Church of the Brethren Mid-Atlantic District’s Disaster Response Auction, an annual fundraiser now in its 39th year that raises money to help support just those sorts of relief efforts.
“For the last 38 years, we’ve raised almost $1.9 million,” McKee said. “The last number of years it’s been on the order of $60-some odd thousand per year.”
The 2018 auction raised $68,000, according to McKee.
The 2019 auction will be held beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday, May 4, at the Carroll County Agriculture Center, and will launch with a breakfast.
“Then we have a lot of booths for foods that open at 10 a.m., a lot of lunch type items,” McKee said. “We have BBQ, hot dogs, salads, smoothies, pretzels — a variety of food items that go on through the better part of the day.”
Four auctions will take then take place, beginning with a 9 a.m. outdoor tool auction, McKee said, followed by a 10 a.m. specialty auction.
“There’s usually more of the nicer things, collectible things. It could be tools it could be artwork, oriental rugs, nicer furniture, antiques, collectible books,” he said. “We auction off mushrooms — there is a guy from somewhere in the Catoctin mountains and he brings in mushrooms.”
Gift baskets, depression glass and collectible plates are also common items at the specialty auction McKee said.
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“Starting at noon we have a brief period of devotion and then we start the quilt auction, which will go for the next couple of hours,” he said. “Most of them are handmade quilts made by the different churches and there’s comforters, lap quilts, baby quits lap quilts, wall hangings, table runners and sometimes place mats, things like that.”
There will also be a silent auction, according to McKee, offering vacations and trips to amusement parks such as Six Flags.
Entry to the event is free, with proceeds from the auctions going to support the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Response Fund, including children’s disaster services.
“What they do is immediately after there is a manmade or natural disaster, we partner many times with the Red Cross and get on site early on,” McKee said. “We provide childcare so that the homeowners can go out and file insurance claims or get supplies, clothing, rent a car, buy a new car; whatever their needs are.”
There will also be childcare available for people who attend the auction on May 4, McKee said, along with representatives of the children’s disaster services program.
“We have people that are there who are certified child disaster service people who go out on site so folks can get an idea of what they do,” he said. “They can talk to those people, see if anyone is interested, get involved, get hooked up with the necessary training.”
For more information, visit www.madcob.com/disaster-response-auction.