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Building buckeyes

Church makes confection to raise money for renovation projects

Church makes confection to raise money for renovation projects

March 07, 2007|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

WILLIAMSPORT - If all goes well with the buckeye sales, roughly 220 parishioners at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church won't be limited to the 89 parking spots in the church lot on Sunday mornings.

And those unable to trek downstairs for Sunday school or to access the kitchen will be able to use an elevator to get to the church's lower level.

As the church gears up for part two of a multimillion-dollar renovation project, volunteers are making boxes of buckeyes - balls of peanut butter covered in chocolate - that will be sold to help the church raise money, said Pastor Mark Sandell.

Sandell said the church plans to build a new fellowship hall, beef up its parking lot and add Sunday school classrooms and an elevator, among other things. The project is expected to cost $1.8 million.

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The church already has spent $1 million on other renovations, Sandell said.

The buckeyes sell for $8 for a box of 20 during the holidays and have been a major church fundraiser since 2004, said Phyllis Schleigh, who heads the project.

Schleigh said the church raised more than $4,000 and sold about 12,000 buckeyes last year.

"We usually don't have any left over," Schleigh said.

Schleigh led a group of about 10 parishioners at the church Monday and Tuesday to make buckeyes for St. Patrick's Day, Easter and Mother's Day.

The confection gets its name from the Ohio Buckeye, which bears a fruit American Indians called "hetuck," which means "eye of a buck," according to Ohio's state Web site at Ohio.gov.

According to chocolate makers at Harry London chocolate factory in Canton, Ohio, the chocolate-covered peanut butter ball is meant to resemble the shape of the buckeyes on the tree.

It typically takes two days for church volunteers to make one large batch, about 230 to 240 buckeyes.

In a food processor, Schleigh combines 40 ounces of peanut butter, about 8 cups of 6X confectioners' sugar, a pound of margarine and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. The peanut butter is then formed into balls and frozen overnight before it is dipped into milk chocolate.

Schleigh said 10X confectioners' sugar can be substituted, but the coarser 6X confectioners' sugar works better. She buys the 6X at Martin's Farm Market, 13613 Pennsylvania Ave., north of Hagerstown.

Gene McCauley and Joyce Mentzer scooped peanut butter from large bowls on Monday. McCauley began scooping at about 7:30 a.m. By 10 a.m., he wasn't feeling weary.

"It doesn't bother you today," said McCauley, who came with his wife, Debbie. "It's the next morning, when you wonder, 'What's wrong with my hands?'"

But his fellow scooper was feeling other signs of weariness.

"It usually takes about a month before I'm able to eat peanut butter again," said volunteer Joyce Mentzer, who by 10 a.m. had already scooped hundreds of buckeyes.

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