FUMC to host Harvest Home Dinner on Nov. 18, silent auction
By Shelley Widhalm
Dinners and silent auctions often go together, but with First United Methodist Church of Berthoud’s annual Harvest Home Dinner, there’s a slight difference.
The annual Harvest Home Dinner is run by the United Methodist Men, while three church members, Linda Hendersen, Barb Howell and Kris-Ellen Corzine, concurrently run the silent auction. The dinner and auction, held in the church basement the Sunday before Thanksgiving, raise funds for different aspects of the church.
“It’s at the time of harvest, so it’s a thanksgiving and celebration of God’s blessing on us and how good he’s been to us,” said Ric Haskins, mission coordinator for the church, who helps organize the dinner.
This year’s combined event will be Nov. 18 after church lets out, starting at about 11:15 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m., or when everyone leaves. The menu for the meal will be the same since the event’s beginning more than 20 years ago of sirloin roast, mashed potatoes, vegetables, biscuits, salad, and pie for dessert.
“Instead of doing poultry, we do beef,” Haskins said about not wanting to compete with the traditional Thanksgiving faire. “Let’s all get together and do Thanksgiving before Thanksgiving with a community of friends. … It’s primarily done for us to be together to enjoy the food and each other’s company and thank God for being good to us.”
Church members sign up to donate money toward the purchase of the food for the meal and to purchase or donate pies. Each year most or all of the costs of the meal are covered through the donations, and Haskins undertakes the task of getting the items.
Haskins and six to eight of the 15 members of United Methodist Men prepare the food the night before and the day of the meal. They also set up tables in the church basement that members of the church decorate with table settings of a fall/Thanksgiving theme. The food is then served banquet style, and each year about 100 to 120 people attend.
“It gets pretty packed,” Haskins said.
Haskins started the dinner in the 1990s when the church asked if the United Methodist Men could do a similar meal to the potluck turkey dinners started in 1956 by church member Bob Lebsack of Berthoud. At the time in the 1950s and 1960s, several farmers came to the event, which typically had a turnout of 200 to 250 people, many of them bringing something from their harvest. The event in some years served as a fundraiser for something the church needed.
This year’s event will serve as a twofold fundraiser with half of the proceeds going to a mission’s trip to help with hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the rest to the church fund. The event raises about $1,000 each year.
The sixth annual silent auction, added to coincide with the dinner, will raise funds for the church’s general fund and to help support one or more families at Christmastime. The auction raises an average of $4,000.
“We thought it would be a good meld of the two programs together,” said Henderson of Berthoud, a church member and volunteer. “It’s just a good place to meet nice people.”
Church members donate items to the silent auction, which this year will include gift baskets, Christmas décor, antiques, jewelry and furniture set up on a stage in the basement. Church members typically donate about 100 items.
This year the auction will add a new live auction of three of the larger items; including a vacation stay, handmade clock, and something to be determined.
“What makes it fun is the bidding wars,” Henderson said. “People will stalk the items they want to win.”
Tickets for the dinner and auction are $10 for ages 13 and older, $5 for 7-12, and free for children 6 and under. Tickets can be purchased at the door or from a member of United Methodist Men.
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