Speaking of the Auxiliary…
In the fourth blog post in the Speaking of the Auxiliary... series current Auxiliary President Peggy Dunbar talks about the meaningful experience of being part of the Auxiliary.
120th Anniversary Celebration Blog Part 3
By Robin McInnis, Auxiliary Treasurer, 2009-2021
The Auxiliary members have always been a resourceful group and have often been approached to provide funding or volunteers for special projects at First Baptist Church Halifax (FBCH).
The money raised by the Auxiliary has come from a wide variety of enterprises. In the past, the most profitable activity has been the Annual Christmas Tea and Sale. For this, the Auxiliary has recruited all members of the congregation to help. The Tea and Sale has generated more than $155,000 during the last 20 years – and this was done a few dollars at a time. Sometimes the items not sold at the Tea and Sale were carted to the Halifax Shopping Center where tables were set up for more sales to the general public. More recently, special items were taken to dealers or sold on Kijiji. A lot of research has been done before donated items were priced for sale and often some very proficient repair or polishing was done to smarten things up. The tea goodies have been splendid and the sandwiches and sweets prepared by all members of the congregation have been highly anticipated by our visitors. Best of all, it was great fun as well as hard work for the Tea and Sale committees. The rapport that developed among participants was marvellous and was actually the best aspect of the ventures.
Our second biggest revenue source has been the “No Bake Sale.” For this we thank the kind generosity of the congregation and the acceptance of the fact that not everyone wants to cook or bake in order to raise funds for the church.
The Plant Sale in the spring generated an average of more than $1500 each year during the period from 2015 to 2019. It provided an opportunity for the intrepid gardeners among us to spread the joy and the fruits of their labour. One year the rain during the sale was so heavy that our cashier, Bud Whalen, needed to have an umbrella held over him by Ian McKee while he tried to keep the money dry and make change. The Plant Sale occurs rain or shine and many local friends count on it to boost their gardens every year.
The Annual Yard Sale has resulted in sales of about $31,000 over 20 years. All this from an eclectic combination of true treasures and “junque.” Sometimes a lot of flexibility is involved. We have even had customers who insisted upon bargaining an item priced at ten cents down to five cents. High finance! Left-over items from the Yard Sales used to be taken to Doris Colwell’s front yard and the money raised from these post yard sales was used to buy craft supplies for FBCH crafters. During the past few years, the left-over items have been donated to Mission Mart or to other charitable ventures.
Johanne McKee has been operating a cottage industry in crafts since she first came to First Baptist about 50 years ago. She still oversees a group of crafters sewing, knitting and generally trying every craft. The team works all year to produce some fine articles for sale and all this activity results in a very congenial group of friends.
The Book Nook has been a good way to broaden the reading options for the congregation. Book sales increase the Auxiliary bank account one dollar at a time. It can be found just outside the Parlour.
Of course, the Auxiliary members also form the core group of caterers for receptions at the church and they are very grateful for the generous donations given back to the Auxiliary in respect for their services.
It takes 120 volunteers to plan and carry out one of our Tea and Sales, 20 for the Plant Sale and more than 30 for the Yard Sales. Receptions need from 4 to 15 volunteers.
Having mentioned some of the bigger revenue sources for the Auxiliary Account, it is interesting to note how the funds have been used during the past 20 years.
More than $37,000 has been donated for community support for activities such as Coverdale, the Bread of Life Ministry, Laing House and Phoenix House.
Many large expenses of the church, including the elevator installation, new flooring and windows, communications equipment and roof repairs have used Auxiliary funds. In addition, the Auxiliary members have researched, sourced and paid for new furniture – everything from high chairs for the creche, to tables and chairs for meetings and meals, to sofas and other parlour furnishings. Sometimes items are repurposed. For instance, the drapes in the Parlour are remakes from Marjorie Fountain’s cottage which happened to be the right colour. After the fire department insisted that the stage curtains be replaced because they were not fire retardant, new drapes were custom made and the old ones were converted by our sewers to table cloths.
After serving 300 people at a few Tea and Sale events, the Auxiliary decided that a commercial dishwasher was needed and it was installed in the only space left in the kitchen. We have purchased fridges and stoves as well as soup ladles and glassware. No item is too big or too small for our resourceful shoppers.
We love the music program at FBCH and have supported organ repair, the music fund and the purchase of our fine new piano. Even Baptismal robes have been on the purchase list recently.
The total of more than $260,00 in financial contributions from the Auxiliary to church life still does not include all of the funds accumulated and donated to church projects between 2000 and 2020 or the significant non-monetary support given by Auxiliary members to FBCH, to our local community, and to each other. The group is very congenial and new members quickly become easy friends and companions.
Missed Part 2, click here to read “I Remember…”
Missed Part 1, click here to read about the Auxiliary’s 120th Anniversary