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SHIPSHEWANA, IN — Memorial Day weekend is a time for relaxation and celebrating the freedoms appreciated in the United States. On the Friday and Saturday of the holiday weekend, Shipshewana, IN hosts the annual Indiana Amish/Mennonite Haiti Relief Auction where thousands of dollars are raised in support of missions in the struggling country. 

The event features a variety of opportunities to help out beginning with a Mississippi catfish and pulled pork dinner, homemade and soft serve ice cream, baked goods, a performance by a local Christian singing group, and a small preview auction on Friday evening.

Saturday begins bright and early with a breakfast buffet of eggs, pancakes, whole hog sausage, homefries, mush, and sausage at 6 am. The first of several auctions was underway by 8 am with a large inventory of handmade wooden furniture, quilts, general merchandise, tools, and outdoor items such as a John Deere tractor, a buggy, and a steel building. 

A myriad of food offerings were available throughout the grounds with freshly mixed and baked donuts being a popular choice. A silent auction was also held during the Saturday activities.

In the midst of the food and sales was a tent full of inspiration and additional fundraising for the 17 organizations benefitting from the efforts. Within the area were booths representing each of the groups who would receive a portion of the proceeds. 

The colorful pictures displayed took the attendees on a journey to another land and newsletters explained the purposes for the missions. Some offered items for sale with hand crocheted doilies commonly created by Haitian men and boys available along with sewn rugs. 

One of the groups who will appreciate the funds generated during the weekend is the New Horizons Ministries Children’s Home. They began in 2005 with a long term commitment and the home was established in 2007 on nine acres. They accept children from 6 years of age through 20 with the youngsters participating in the daily duties of running a home. 

With the thought of sustainability and education, agriculture in Haiti is considered one of the most important subjects the children learn about and experience. The residents take care of gardens and animals with the ultimate goal of providing food for the daily needs of those who live there. They have pigs, goats, chickens, turkeys, and a heifer in the barnyard with bananas, pineapples, citrus, and a variety of other fruits and vegetables growing in the garden. The program also explores various agricultural techniques such as chicken tractors, broadening the children’s knowledge.

The Indiana auction is just one of seven auctions held primarily in the Midwest region of the United States. Ohio will host their annual auction on September 2, during the Labor Day weekend. The next Indiana sale will be held on May 25 and 26, 2018.

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