Celebrating 50 Years with Stories of MCC Sask at Work

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Material Resources - Anniversary Cake Dec. 4

Material Resources 50 Year Celebration

the MCC logo of  the dove on a black background

On December 4, 2014, MCCS celebrated its last 50th anniversary event with an evening to celebrate the Material Resources department. It was held at Mount Royal Church in Saskatoon. 39 people were present and enjoyed a lively time of remincing about this vital service. The cake shown here, was cleverly decorated to show items from a typical School Kit.

The dove on the black background is the MCC logo on the humanitarian aid shipped out by MCC, giving us a name as "the People of the Bird."

Del Lennea shared the following report and history. . . .

Material Resources

Eigenheim ladies making blankets for MCCS

Material Resources are the items Mennonite Central Committee sends overseas as humanitarian aid to those in need. Doreen Epp and Darlene Wahl, as well as myself, Del Lennea, helped build MR into what it is today.

Doreen was a kind, gentle entrepreneur married to a hard-working farmer. She was an excellent resource to be part of MCC. She had the knowledge and support it took to get a donor base established. Doreen also began the logistics of putting together a plan of how to get items here in Saskatchewan to faraway places overseas to those people who needed them.

another view of ladies making blankets at MCCS

One of Doreen's highlights, working for MCCS, was the opportunity to travel to Ukraine. On this trip she was able to see where MCC had its first ever shipment of food delivered and dispersed.

As earlier mentioned Darlene Wahl was also part of MR at the MCCS location. After talking with Darlene I realized her major highlight was bringing the MR resources room from the dark, windowless, second-floor corner down to where it is now. She advocated with her volunteers, that it be more front and centre - where the room was well-lit and the room would be more inviting and warm. This also would help MCCS in the promotion of MR to the public. People would notice the noisy, busy room as soon as they entered the building.

This leads us to where we are today.

The Baler Transition

The material donations that piled up here in Saskatchewan were boxed up, banded shut and sent to the MCCBC warehouse in Abbotsford. This would involve about eight or nine people to take a half day to load the semi-trailer by hand with all these cardboard boxes. There was plenty of joyous noise as those involved realized the difference these donations were going to make in someone's life.

Upon the arrival of the donations in BC, they would all have to be unloaded by hand, hauled into the warehouse, reopened and baled appropriately for the container.

Soon after my arrival here at MCCS, I questioned why we were creating work for the people in the BC warehouse, when we could do it at our own location, and increases the efficiency of our own warehouse.

The introduction of the second-hand, refurbished tobacco-baler from Kansas was the start of MCCS's move to become more efficient. This baler made its way up to our warehouse with God's blessing. When it arrived, a newly-assembled team was invited in to put it back together and see how it would operate. This team consisted of Ed Feick, Ben Thiessen, and Del Lennea.

In fine fashion, the response from the team was enthusiastic. With a little physical cranking and chains connecting all the moving parts, we had ourselves a baler.

a shipment of bales of Resources

This was significant because the containers used to move the material overseas could be packed more efficiently using 5.0 cubic foot balers. The calculations of cubic feet were made and the baler was marked accordingly, then just a few more supplies were needed, and we were ready to step into the future. Wrap, strapping, tape, labels, and cardboard for extra support were brought in and the first bale at the MCCS warehouse existed.

Since the team was now working with larger, heavier weight, a pallet jack was needed to simplify operations. Let the fund-raising begin.

A very short while later we had our jack, and now pallets were filled and wrapped so MCCS could ship out the Material Resources when they were needed.

However, as time waits for nobody, the team found the physical nature needed for baling was getting to be a bit much. When the idea of a hydraulic, electric baler was being thrown around, Del decided to follow up on it. He found one available for a cost of approximately $3500.

The fund-raising began and a few generous donors later, the current baler was ordered.

With the new baler in place, and less physical effort needed, MCCS was now working with maximum efficiency, in line with all the rest of the larger MCC network across the US and Canada. This is still where we are today, baling and shipping, all in the name of Christ.

Not only was the location and aesthetics of the MR room important, but also the direction MCCS was lead, was also modified slightly. MCCS now had more people becoming involved in MR and the need to find more opportunities became more important.

One of the areas MCCS started working towards was the education of the public on what was happening here, as well as what we stood for, and were about. We called this global education as the staff at MCCS would take turns leading groups throughout our building and giving them hands-on activity to do, or introducing them to programs that were happening here. All of the tours and activities were geared towards sharing the MCCS's philosophy and knowledge of how, and why, we helped the internationally oppressed in the "Name of Christ."

bales of reliev unloaded and dsitrubted in Amman Jordan for Syrian refugees

On October 25th, 2013, MCCS made it's first locally prepared direct shipment to a country Rep in Jordan. This shipment went to provide aid for the displaced people of Syria in Jordan. The shipping documentation and photos are provided with this report.

I mention this because it is one of my highlights in being part of MCCS at this time. We will see if our first direct shipment will gather any energy from our surrounding constituents, and who knows where that may lead in touching the lives of many with a little ray of hope or having a mustard seed of faith.

Currently the MR network is noticing a slight shift in how the larger MCC responds to natural disasters, or misplaced people. There seems to be more of a focus on sustaining the economy, where we can, and purchasing locally to help boost the local economy, and provide aid as well.

This approach works well in some countries, but not all of them. So there will always continue to be a need for helping oppressed people in countries where natural, or man-made disasters are taking place with shipments of humanitarian aid.

See a photo story of Saskatchewan Blankets from their start with the Eigenheim Church ladies, to their destination in Syria. Then read also a Thank You Note from Syria.

Back to MCCS's 50th Anniversary - index Or; Jan: IVEP | Feb: Thrift Shop Movement | Mar: Canadian Foodgrains Bank| Apr: Ten Thousand Villages | May: Restorative Justice | June: Relief Sale | July: Refugee Assistance | Aug: Aboriginal Neighbours (Historical overview) | Sept: Governance | Oct: Music Gala | Nov: Recognized in Provincial Legisalature | Dec: Material Resources

[last updated - Dec/16/2021]
Mennonite Historical Society of Saskatchewan

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