Church turns doughnuts to dollars

February 10, 1997


Staff Writer

When it comes to fund-raisers, Washington Square United Methodist Church never goes in the hole.

Every year at about this time, volunteers turn the auditorium of the church is converted to a doughnut factory.

Between Monday and today, church volunteers will mix 400 pounds of flour, 200 pounds of sugar, 35 dozen eggs and other ingredients needed to fry up 12,000 doughnuts.

"There's about seven of us that will be working all night," Patsy Weigand, who has worked on the fund-raiser for 32 years, said Monday evening. "And then we'll work all day tomorrow."


Weigand, coordinator of the church's Children's Division, and the others will go about 32 hours without sleep during that stretch, but she said it is necessary to meet the demand. Before the frying began, the church had taken orders for more than a thousand dozen doughnuts.

Money raised from the $2-per-dozen sale will pay for carpeting for two elementary classrooms, Weigand said.

Last year's proceeds paid for carpeting for the kindergarten and primary rooms, she said.

Weigand said a great deal of preparation is required before the doughnuts are ready for delivery.

As a first step, she and another volunteer spent hours labeling bags with the names of customers and the times the orders will be picked up.

The assembly line then goes to work.

Volunteers began mixing the ingredients for the secret recipe in the kitchen at about 6:15 p.m. Monday.

The dough then goes to 11 stations around the room, where volunteers drop them into fryers. Trays of the hot doughnuts are set aside to cool.

The cooled doughnuts are dipped in powder and bagged for the customer. The result is a homemade treat with a loyal following that has built up over the past 45 years or so that the church has been holding the fund-raiser.

"These are homemade," said Hagerstown resident Joyce Turner, who ordered two dozen doughnuts. "It's an old-fashioned doughnut. They're just good."

Weigand said orders start streaming in about two weeks before production day. The size of orders range from a half-dozen to 65 dozen - this year's order from The Stationery House. The Antietam Paper Co., the Beachley Furniture Co. and other businesses placed large orders as well, she said.

Weigand said about 45 people help with the baking and bagging, including a second shift that was to arrive at about midnight. But there is no need to recruit sales people.

"No one goes out and sells them," she said. "We don't have to. They sell themselves."

The annual fund-raiser coincides with Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Christian Lenten season.

There's only one hitch - the doughnuts don't always come out of the fryer in a perfect ring shape.

"Frying is a science. It really is," said Kathy Itnyre, who was working at one of the frying stations. "You drop them down there and you think you've got doughnuts with perfect holes and they come out looking like this."

She pointed to some frying doughnuts on which the traditional holes appeared to have closed up.

Itnyre, her husband, daughter and mother, volunteer for doughnut duty every year.

It is also a family affair for Weigand, who makes the donuts with four generations of her family.

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