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Rescue mission bazaar is a community tradition

November 21, 2006|by MARIE GILBERT

Martha Wolfe wasn't kidding when she said she had found some bargains.

Her arms loaded with merchandise, she tallied up her purchases. There were Christmas decorations and ornaments, holiday boxes and baked goods.

"I spent less than $25, and I got a lot of stuff," the Smithsburg resident said. "I'd say I had a pretty good morning."

Wolfe was among the hundreds of people who showed up Saturday for the Four States Christian Missions Inc.'s Hagerstown Rescue Mission's annual Christmas bazaar.

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The event, held in the Trinity Center on the mission property at 125 N. Prospect St., was sponsored by the mission's Ladies Auxiliary.

Proceeds from the bazaar will be used to meet the needs of the mission and its residents, said Carol Ingram, auxiliary president.

"This is a wonderful group of women who are very unselfish in their work to help others," she said. "Whatever the mission needs, it's the auxiliary's goal to meet those needs. Doing is better than telling."

The bazaar has become a holiday tradition, said auxiliary member Ann Fahrenkrog.

"We've probably been doing this for 25 years," she said. "It's always well-organized, and I think people look forward to coming here. Today, we had people lined up more than a half-hour before we opened the doors."

In the past, the auxiliary has raised money to purchase a variety of items for the mission, including a washer and dryer, stove and vacuum cleaner, Ingram said.

"We also host a Christmas dinner," said Martha Reid, past president of the auxiliary. "We provide the covered dishes, and the men are our special guests. They always let us know how much they appreciate it."

This year's dinner will be held Dec. 16, she said.

Ingram said the auxiliary usually raises about $600 from the bazaar.

"But today, we've had a lot of traffic coming through here. So I expect we'll do a lot better than usual," she said.

The bazaar featured a variety of items, ranging from Christmas wreaths and toys to antiques, candles, jewelry and food.

Most items were donated by the community, Ingram said.

Also for sale was a new cookbook featuring about 300 recipes compiled by auxiliary members.

Among the volunteers helping out with the bazaar was a familiar face. Ellen Resh, who with her late husband, Jimmy, founded the rescue mission, sat behind a table filled with jewelry and chatted with co-workers and shoppers.

"I just like to be part of this," she said. "I even made bean soup for today's sale."

Resh, who marks her 90th birthday this week, said she tries to stop by the mission several days a week.

"I've been in mission work for about 56 years," she said. "And this place is an important part of my life. This is like home to me."

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