The perfect recipe for community each year is the Help the Hungry Bake Sale.
And, 2017 was no exception. Just a few hours after the sale closed on Nov. 18, it was announced a total of $68,304 was raised from the sale and other fundraising activities held throughout the year.
The money is divided and donated to the Farmington Ministerial Alliance and St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantries in Farmington.
“We are once again humbled by the tremendous outpouring of support we get every year from the community,” said Chris Landrum, bake sale organizer. “We thank everyone who contributed in any way to the great success of the bake sale.”
The sale has raised close to half a million dollars since it began in 2006 – with the total each year surpassing the amount raised the year before.
One of the most popular events of the day is the “Cookin’ Clergy Contest” – pitting pastors and ministers from Farmington congregations against one another in a friendly bidding war for the most “expensive” cake.
The contest brought in $18,383.88, with Landrum expressing a special “thank you” to the pastors and their congregations who participate in the contest each year.
This year’s “top cake” was presented by Father Abe Arganiosa of St. Joseph Catholic Church.
The cake, chocolate with a peanut butter icing, brought in $7,500 at the auction. According to Arganiosa – known as Father Abe – was baked using special ingredients. With a smile, he told the crowd it is made using holy water, plus the flour used for the communion wafers.
In addition to taking home the top honors for the amount raised, the cake was also named the “Best Tasting” by the judges.
Jeremy Champion, associate pastor for Worship from First Baptist Church, took home the “Best Decorated” honors in his first year in the competition. The cake was in the shape of a turkey – holding a sign asking hungry diners “What Would Jesus Do?”
From the time the doors opened for the sale at 9 a.m., the St. Joseph Catholic School gymnasium had a feeling of part family/part friends’ get-together. All throughout there were friends visiting and generations of families walking together.
Aimee Washam of Farmington was standing outside the booth with cookies of all varieties, waiting for her daughter Basil, 5, to find a favorite treat.
“Sugar cookies,” Aimee said, asking Basil to share who would be the recipient of the treats with red icing and sprinkles.
“Evelyn,” Basil answered – with mom adding that’s little sister who enjoys sugar cookies most of all.
Jeanna Hennrich and her daughter, Kate Musgrove, attend each year – but this was the first year for the two to make it to the sale at the 9 a.m. opening.
Hennrich said the sale is a tradition for the two to attend each year – a kick-off to the holiday season.
Barbara Harbour of Farmington had a box filled with pumpkin bread of all sizes – and said that’s an annual go-to for her, along with the cookies.
Theresa Kellogg, Jennifer Rhodus and Carol Vuichard were standing at the “Our Father’s Table” booth manned by parishioners at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Kellogg has been volunteering at the sale for about six or seven years, but this was the first year for Rhodus – who, with her husband, head up the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.
“The bake sale is the biggest fundraiser for our pantry, hands down,” she said. “The volunteers and the women (on the committee) are absolutely amazing. Everybody is willing to give to do whatever is needed…they just jump in and do it.
“It has been a true blessing to see and be a part of.”
Volunteer Rachel Jue said the congregation at Meadow Heights-Farmington lends a hand by donating 20 baked items for the sale – as well as lending a helping hand in a most important way.
“When I came on to the committee, I asked ‘what is your biggest need?’” Jue said, “And they said ‘cleanup, because everyone is tired at the end.’”
In addition to the baked goods, the church provides volunteers to help tear down the tables and stage at the end of the sale.
More than 50 wreaths and holiday décor pieces were donated for the holiday raffle. Tickets were placed in containers near each item for a drawing held at the end of the sale.
Marie Gibbs was looking at the different items up for the raffle. She attends the sale each year and said she likes to put her name in to win a homemade item.
Gibbs said she thought about what the bake sale means to the community that morning before she made it to the gymnasium.
“I thought, ‘man, what would (the food pantries) do without this?’” she said. “It’s wonderful.”
Sponsors for the bake sale include New Era Bank; Chris Auffenberg Chevrolet/Buick/GMC; US Tool Group; Farmington Press; Auto Plaza Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram; First State Community Bank; Belgrade State Bank; Centene Corporation; Ozarks Federal Savings and Loan; Show-Me Rent-To-Own; Mitware; Heimburger Construction, Inc.; KREI/KTJJ; Ozark Steel Fabricators, Inc.; Thurman, Shinn and Company; Mineral Area Office Supply and Mineral Area College.