Help The Hungry Bake Another Hit Comes Out

It wasn’t long after the doors opened at 9 am Saturday for the 17th annual Help The Hungry Bake Sale, people began pouring out of the gym at St. Joseph Catholic School in Farmington, carrying lots of crafts, cakes, cookies and other goodies for Your cars.

Inside, amidst the Christmas decorations and tables laden with all manner of delicacies, throngs of people milled through the gym looking for delicious Christmas treats and treasures to take home to enjoy or give as gifts. It was perhaps the largest crowd to attend one of Parkland’s most popular events in years.

That may be because, more than anything, the bake sale is a place where people come together to see friends and neighbors, as well as to renew old friendships. Throughout the gym, groups of three or four people could be seen standing together in tight circles, sharing the latest family updates and sharing a joke or two. The atmosphere was joyful.

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The theme for this year’s Help The Hungry Bake Sale was “Bake It to 1 Million”. The bake sale committee came up with the theme after discovering that the fundraiser, over the previous 16 years, had raised $875,000 for the two food pantries.

“Then we also realized that we were only $125,000 short of giving $1 million to the two food pantries, so we got really excited,” said committee chair Chris Landrum. “In everything we did this year, we were looking for what would get us to $1 million.”

The main floor of the bake sale wasn’t the only place where a lot was going on.

In a room outside the gym, people lined up for biscuits and gravy, coffee, sodas and other snacks served by a team of friendly volunteers next to a room where kids sat at round tables, working on fun activities in the gym. new Kids’ Corner which provided a haven for the youth while their parents shopped the sale.

Erin Overcast of Farmington, who has attended previous Help The Hungry Bake sales, described the annual fundraiser as “an amazing event.” She went on to say, “I think the turnout is remarkable. There are many people here!”

Asked if he planned to buy any items at the bake sale, Overcast said, “Yeah, my mom’s birthday is Thanksgiving and she always makes cakes, and I don’t make cakes. So, I picked up the cakes here and told him to enjoy the day.”

At the front of the gym were rows of chairs facing a raised platform with all kinds of quilts, paintings, Christmas decorations, ornaments, dolls, art pieces, and even an outdoor grill. These were some of the items auctioned off during the bake sale which, along with purchases of food and craft items, raised money, like every year, for the Ministerial Alliance and the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantries in Farmington.

Serving as auctioneer was local radio personality Mark Toti who, as he does every year, kept the crowd entertained and the bids competitive. Meanwhile, a silent auction served as a draw for those who might not be such fans of the public bidding process.

Dr. Joe Gilgour, president of Mineral Area College, also a recurring guest at the bake sale, said: “It’s overwhelming, in a good way! There is food everywhere and crafts. It’s really impressive what the community does.”

Gilgour said he was also pleased to be a part of an event that does so much good for the community.

“When you work at a community college, we see hungry students all the time,” he said. “The community is hungrier than people realize. This organization, with everything they’ve done, is tremendous, and they’re on the brink of a million dollars during their history period. I’m excited to see it.”

The exciting finale to last year’s bake sale was the Clergy Cook-Off, which raised a record $59,890. The eight clerics who entered this year’s contest surpassed the 2021 total by more than $6,000.

“Our Clergy Cook-Off has raised approximately $66,000 this year,” Landrum said. Thank you to everyone who helped us bake it a million today! We had a wonderful time at the bake sale and are very pleased with the turnout.

“Many people showed up with baked goods, silent auction baskets, beautiful holiday items, and live auction items. We can safely say we raised $136,000, but final numbers are not yet available. We appreciate everyone who helped in any way , big or small.”

Via Facebook, Landrum confirmed Sunday night that the total fundraiser from the bake sale was $136,000, handily exceeding the organizers’ goal of “Bake up to 1 Million.”

“Thank you to everyone who helped us bake up to a million! On Saturday, the St. Joe Gym was filled to the brim with delicious baked goods, beautiful holiday wreaths, wonderful baskets and auction items, but most importantly, affectionate people with a spirit of love and good cheer,” he posted. “…Thank you for helping the hungry and happy Thanksgiving everyone!”

Kevin R. Jenkins is the Managing Editor of Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-783-9667 or [email protected]

Thank you to everyone who helped us bake it a million today! We had a wonderful time at the bake sale, and are very pleased with the turnout.” – Chris Landrum, Chairman, Help the Hungry Bake Sale Committee

Chris Landrum comments on the bake sale

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