The fifth in our series of 50th Anniversary events was a Faspa and drama produced by the Mennonite Heritage Village Auxiliary. Linda Schroeder, President of the Auxiliary, offers the following report on this event.

The Auxiliary – Celebrating 50 Years, was the title of a drama written for the annual Auxiliary Faspa held on May 4, 2014.

“How does one capture the heart of an Auxiliary? Is there an interesting story about the beginning of this organization? Members have come and gone over the years, and many of the stories are not recorded in the minutes that were kept. But some of the stories have been told and retold. With these stories in hand, the Auxiliary approached Annie Funk, a local playwright, to see if she had any interest in scripting a drama with this information. To our delight, she consented. The resulting drama, highlighting 50 years of Auxiliary activity, was produced and directed by Annie Funk and performed by members of the current Auxiliary and a few friends of the Auxiliary.

“Who is the Auxiliary? Currently, we are a group of dedicated volunteers whose motto is to help MHV in any way we can, including fundraising efforts. We meet monthly at MHV and volunteer in many capacities including food services, waffle-booth service, demonstrations, guiding, clean-up, gardening, quilting, school programs, and Village Centre reception.

“Why the need for an Auxiliary? In the early years of the museum, board members enlisted the help of their wives to provide food services to the many guests who were coming to visit the museum. This resulted in the women meeting and organizing for these events. Much of the food in those early years was prepared in homes and brought to MHV, along with the dishes and linens. The stories are told of how the women would go home and make more perogies and bring them back to feed those early crowds. Today, food preparations are all done on site, as the kitchens have been government-approved for food services. Over the years, the Auxiliary has purchased kitchen and restaurant supplies, as well as all the tables, chairs, linens, ovens, dishwashers, coffee makers, freezers and coolers.

“Does the Auxiliary just raise money through food? Many of the fundraising efforts revolve around food, just like it is at home. The Village Quilters have also provided valuable resources to the Auxiliary and the museum. What began as demonstrations in the Housebarn soon turned into a lucrative opportunity to sell quilts and to have an annual quilt raffle. Many orders for these specialty quilts have been filled, and quilts have been ordered and sent to many parts of the world, including the Whistler Ski Resort, Jerusalem, Sydney (Australia), and of course to various parts of the USA and Canada. Many of the quilters come one day a week to volunteer, some sewing the pieces together, some designing, and then quilting. Recently, the Auxiliary has also teamed up with the Steinbach and Area Garden Club to provide the supplies and plants with which the Garden Club will beautify the grounds at the Museum. In June we will have our first joint Garden Tour and Tea.

“Who can join the Auxiliary? This is an open group and welcomes anyone with an interest in the work of MHV.

“What are the benefits of belonging to the MHV Auxiliary? One of the biggest benefits is the feeling of belonging to a dedicated group that enjoys working together, having fun together, and accomplishing great things!! It is with great satisfaction that the group looks back at the end of the year and realizes they have earned over $40,000! This all goes to support the work of MHV!

“What projects are we supporting this year? The biggest project will be to raise funds to provide electric door openers for the Village Centre. The project is estimated to cost $20,000.

“The drama last Sunday helped to answer some of the above questions in a lighthearted way. We wish to thank Annie Funk for sharing her writing and scripting talents with us. It was also a great pleasure to have two past presidents, Jessie Neufeldt and Mary Loewen, join us for the afternoon.

“The afternoon drama was followed by a delicious old-fashioned Faspa, and we especially wish to thank Bothwell Cheese for the donation of cheese for this event!

“This was one of the 50th Anniversary celebrations at MHV this year, and the auditorium was filled to capacity. We hope to see you at many of the upcoming celebrations as well!”

About the Author

Gary is responsible for the overall management of MHV. Guiding the staff, informing the board, and networking with officials, volunteers, corporate sponsors, individual donors and other guests. He has a business diploma and a MA in Global Studies from Providence Theological Seminary. With his family he did humanitarian work for 18 years in Asia, including being a CEO of a Compost Enterprise in China. He loves to discuss the Mennonite story and how it is relevant in our world. Learn more about the MHV.

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