By Sidney Owens
This year brought many new and exciting adventures for Festival of Sharing. For six weeks during September and October there were seven Sharefests across Missouri: Kansas City, Tipton, Macon, Cameron, Dexter, Ferguson and Springfield. More than 500 volunteers packed 28,000 pounds of rice, 2,000 pounds each of beans and popcorn, 150 food boxes, 600 hygiene packs, 200 student dental kits, 250 readin’ and writin’ packs, checked 345 Backpacks of Love and 181 youth personal care kits, and counted Church World Service donations and Best Choice Labels. Organizations such as Heifer International, Church of the Brethren, Mobility Worldwide and Rainbow Network hosted booths at various locations to share their mission and encourage local service.
“The third East Region Sharefest held at Immanuel United Church of Christ in Ferguson started on Friday evening with uplifting music from the youth praise band at SunRise UMC in O’Fallon. Our youth overnighter had an increase in youth and churches than in years past. The Saturday Sharefest welcomed more than 115 participants,” said Krescene Beck, a Ferguson Sharefest volunteer.
Churches of different denominations within the communities came together to make the Sharefests happen. Some organized volunteers, some donated lunch items and others helped get the word out to local media.
“It was really great to see how each event adopted its own personality to fit the local needs. Youth, adults and agency representatives worked alongside each other with a shared mission and accomplished so much. My heart is so full this year after experiencing the love, laughter, and sometimes chaos of the Sharefests,” said Festival Coordinator Sidney Owens of the 2018 Sharefest season.
The annual quilt auction was held as its own event on October 27 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Columbia. The auction attracted several people from the public, sold 150 quilts for $19,933.50 and raised an extra $750 through our freewill chili/soup lunch. Results of the auction can be seen on www.festivalofsharing.org. Festival of Sharing would like to extend a huge thank you to all who supported the Sharefests and quilt auction this year. Planning for the 2019 season is already underway, so stay tuned for more information! Sign up for our newsletter and keep up to date with Festival of Sharing at www.festivalofsharing.org.