$10,000 raised to support Ten Thousand Villages and the Heritage Center!
New and old friends of two organizations gathered on a beautiful evening on April 18th to celebrate the story of one Mennonite woman, Edna Ruth Byler, and the movement she spearheaded that became global fair trade nonprofit retailer Ten Thousand Villages.
Resident storyteller Doug Dirks shared stories and images of Edna and the many lives changed–including whole families educated, lasting economic improvement, and self-esteem for people formerly in poverty and want.
Souderton store manager Bonnie Moyer shared stories and images from her own extensive travels to artisans in many countries. Ms. Moyer operates the Villages store in the Souderton Shopping Center. Both speakers brought knowledge and passion to the over 100 attendees in the Mennonite Heritage Center’s new event space–the Paul M. Nyce Barn.
Ms. Moyer also made sure many “masks” of Ms. Byler were on hand. As guests arrived, they had a photo opp with the masks in front of an original Chevy II–similar to the car she drove as she sold wares out of her trunk.
Guests were encouraged to raise their Edna mask each time her name was mentioned from the podium–which was often! Martene Histand, Board Chair of Ten Thousand Villages Souderton presented Ms. Moyer with a gift of appreciation for over 20 years of service.
Curry Leaf of Harleysville provided the Indian cuisine. The meal was capped by cinnamon rolls made according to Edna’s own recipe–she was known for generously bestowing these on her family, friends, and customers.
Elaborate and colorful Bunyaad rugs–an important and unique product available in the Souderton store–graced the barn walls and floors. The silent auction of an array of Villages prodcuts put us over the $10,000 goal, aided by a generous grant for the cost of the items from Zion Mennonite Church of Souderton.
Steve Diehl, Director of Advancement for the Mennonite Heritage Center closed the evening by encouraging everyone to think Ten Thousand Villages whenever they are looking for a gift–from a simple handmade quilled greeting card, to a hostess gift, to an heirloom rug. Diehl encouraged the men in the room to “up their game” as he had with the line of Conscious Step socks–even offering to sell his own right off his feet. (No takers).
This was our second year of collaborating with another organization or cause for our spring benefit–splitting the proceeds. What is a Mennonite story and cause we could support together next year?