Over 20,000 people attended the annual MCC British Columbia Festival for World Relief September 14 & 15 at the Abbotsford TRADEX which raised over $1M to support uprooted people locally and around the world. We are grateful for the response of donors, attendees and volunteers. We are reminded regularly about the enormity of the need of the needs we face and the generosity of those raising funds during the Festival, along with matching grants from donors and the Government of Canada which will help to address some of the need.
The annual Bread of Life auction, which raises funds for food security projects, contributed over $230,000 to the festival’s fundraising total. This year these donations will support food security projects in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which is assisting some of the 1.4 million people displaced by the conflict in the north east region, including over 2,100 people and families living in the Internally Displaced People site of the Poste in Minova in the eastern part of DRC. 105 riders of all ages and abilities took part in the Saturday morning Pedaling for Hope cyclathon which raised over $220,000 in support internally displaced people (IDP) in Syria. The cyclathon funds will support a project assisting 6,000 affected households. The remaining funds that contributed to the $1M were raised through food, craft, and booth sales as well as other fundraising efforts held at the two-day festival and will support MCC’s work with uprooted and vulnerable people, here in BC and around the world!
“The Festival has such a rich history and it’s always encouraging to see many volunteers working to make it happen,” says Wayne Bremner, Executive Director of MCC British Columbia. “It’s a reflection of the generosity of our volunteers and donors, as well as the community here in the Fraser Valley. We are honoured that MCC continues to be trusted to help people who are facing conflict, poverty, and disasters. For all of this we are grateful.”
The Abbotsford Relief Festival, which started in 1970, has grown to become a must-attend event for many in the Fraser Valley each September. Over 800 volunteers helped cook and serve a variety of foods, from Mennonite classics like farmers sausage and vereniki to international flavours from some of the 56 countries where MCC is currently engaged in relief, development, and peacemaking work. In addition, volunteers managed craft booths, live auctions, a kid’s area and more.
“MCC remains committed to our mission of compassionate ministry and helping all in the name of Christ. We are continuing to respond to several ongoing needs – from food crisis caused by violence and drought in various parts of the world; refugee and displaced people responses in the Middle East as well as other lesser known regions” says Ron Ratzlaff, Interim Advancement Director for MCC British Columbia. “The money raised at this year’s festival will go a long way, but much more is needed.”