Mennonites Like Their Auctions (and their acronyms)
When you can help folks and have fun doing it (usually with food), that makes for an event that can stand the test of time. People in eastern Washington have figured out how to do that in their own style.
Mennonite Country Auction’s (MCA) Oct 5, 2019, has two claims to fame: 1) it is the most remote MCC Sale, and 2) it has the highest per capita giving of any MCC Sale.
There are several ways to get to the MCA, but most involve coming on the I-90 freeway from either Moses Lake or Ritzville. With either route you exit the freeway at least 6 miles from the Menno Mennonite Church (MMC), site of the MCA, and pass by a handful of buildings before arriving at the Sale. Although the church sits on a hill with a 360° view, you can see only one farmstead off in the distance.
How do you get people to come? For starters, in eastern Washington, driving an hour is nothing. Many farmers have to drive 30+ min. just to get to the nearest town. Getting Mennonites to come to an auction Sale that supports Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is also not difficult. The MCA is the only MCC Sale in Washington, so Spokane Mennonites and Seattle area Mennonites are regulars. Still, locating a public fundraiser in a county with an average population density of less than 5 persons/sq. mi. is not what most marketing experts would advise.
This “little” Sale located in remote eastern Washington and hosted by a small country church shouldn’t be expected to amount to much. You would be wrong to think that. The Sale regularly brings in about $120,000 in just 5 hours. With 500 people in attendance, that averages $240 per person (including children). Some people come to the Sale with a budget to spend. They may not want or need more “stuff,” but want to support MCC. A few years ago the Sale started auctioning off “absolutely nothing.” That allows people to support MCC, not go home with more stuff, and honestly be able to say that they bought absolutely nothing at the Sale.
Mennonite Insurance Services (MIS) has been a steady supporter of the MCA and plans to be there again on October 5, 2019. Mennonite Insurance brings items to sell and turns the proceeds over to the Sale. This year, Mennonite Insurance will be selling canvas folding chairs for $20.
Final Exam: What does MCC mean?