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Church puts own needs aside to aid hurricane victims

September 11, 2005|By PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO

Past the yard sales lining arteries into Boonsboro Saturday and into the heart of Shafer Memorial Park, where craft vendors bustled under Boonesborough Days' business, relief could be found in the guise of a church grilling tent, but not just for weary shoppers - for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Benevola United Methodist Church, whose members baked more than 4,000 apple dumplings for Boonesborough Days and slung hundreds of burgers Saturday, posted a sign that 100 percent of its proceeds would go to the victims of the hurricane.

Kathy Witman, the church's lay leader, said a portion of their sales must go back to the town, but other than that, "every last dime on both days" will be sent through the United Methodist Committee on Relief to victims.

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Normally, proceeds from the church's Boonesborough Days' sales go to the church's building fund. Witman said the church just spent more than $1 million on a church addition.

The church committee decided, "These people need bare necessities much more than we need to pay our bills," she said.

By 3 p.m. Saturday, patrons of the 34th annual event donated, outside of food sales, more than $400, Witman said.

Benevola United Methodist Church wasn't the only group giving back to hurricane victims.

The youth of Mt. Nebo United Methodist Church took donations for victims at their face painting station, while the adults took donations to help put together more flood buckets and health kits for victims, said Bruce Smith, president of The Methodist Men.

While many flocked to food stands, others said they came mostly to buy crafts and take in the park's atmosphere.

Alternate U.S. 40 was lined with yard sales leading into the heart of Boonsboro and "Myersvillian" Molly Carioti said she followed the trail.

She went to a yard sale in Middletown, Md., heard about Boonesborough Days and decided to come out.

Carioti, 35, said she bought a metal star at Boonesborough Days she's been "looking for for forever and a day" and, inevitably, she added, bought "a lot of food."

Wanda Heuer, Boonesborough Days chairwoman, said the committee for the event decides carefully which vendors it will allow. About 150 vendors, selling such items as pottery, paintings, candles and soap, came out Saturday.

Heuer said by the end of the day today, when Boonesborough Days concludes, about 10,000 people will have attended.

Virginia Bartles said she's never missed the event. A lifelong Hagerstown resident, Bartles, 79, appeared comfortable in her surroundings, sitting on a small rug she placed atop a park stone bridge.

"It hasn't changed a lot over the years," she said.

Her niece bought her a slaw cutter and Bartles bought a few Halloween decorations, she said.

"What do I need now?" Bartles said after expressing some apprehension about her 80th birthday. She smiled and said, "I just come and enjoy it."

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