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Egg sales help crack church debt

February 22, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

Handmade Easter eggs are sweetening the budgets of two area United Methodist churches.

Each church - Faith United Methodist Church in Waynesboro and St. Paul United Methodist Church in Chambersburg, Pa. -made more than $10,000 profit on the confections last year. All labor is volunteer, and proceeds help to retire debt.

But the most important result of the projects may not be the funds raised.

According to Eileen Trutt, wife of pastor Lynn Trutt of Faith United Methodist Church, the church holds two services each Sunday morning, and people who regularly attend one service often did not know people who attend the other.

"It's brought the two groups together," she said. "We're getting to know all the people in the church. It's all positive."

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Trutt said parishioners look forward to the candy project each February, often asking her, "When are we going to start making eggs?"

Youth through senior citizens are involved, and Sunday School classes take turns providing lunch for the workers.

On Saturday, about 64 church members clad in hairnets and plastic gloves worked in the kitchen and fellowship hall, dipping, wrapping and packing eggs.

They make two varieties, coconut and peanut butter, with the latter being the better seller, Trutt said. This is the fifth year for the candy project, and it is paying off two properties the church had purchased for parking.

Faith United Methodist members will make between 24,000 and 25,000 eggs in four weekends, Trutt said.

Fillings are mixed on Friday evening. From 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each Saturday, workers mold the eggs, refrigerate them, then dip them in melted chocolate. Excess coating is trimmed off, and the eggs are wrapped in silver or gold paper and packed in boxes. Every egg is weighed, Trutt said. They tip the scale at 2 ounces after coating.

Eggs are $8 per dozen or $4 per half dozen.

"We could sell more, but we limited the number because we don't want people to get burned out," Trutt said. The church already has orders for about 18,000 eggs.

Gene Knepper of Waynesboro dipped peanut butter eggs, while Lorraine Burcker of Greencastle, Pa., tended chocolate melting in several double boilers lined up on the large commercial stove.

"It's like working in your own personal sauna," Burcker said, adding that the pots have to be watched carefully so that no steam escapes from the bottom of the double boiler.

"That would ruin the chocolate," Burcker said as she stirred chocolate and moved pots around. "I never get sick of looking at chocolate and peanut butter."

At St. Paul United Methodist Church, proceeds from the sale of coconut, creamy peanut butter and crunchy peanut butter eggs have reduced the church's building debt by $43,500. The historic church in Chambersburg was destroyed by arsonists in 1995, and a new structure was built on Norland Avenue, according to information from the church.

Between 40 and 50 members of the congregation work on the eggs two days a week, except when demand outstrips production, as is currently the case, and a third work day is added.

Workers plan to make between 35,000 and 38,000 eggs, selling them for 60 cents apiece.

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