Share Fest program marks 30th anniversary

Faith Lutheran Church’s annual Harvest of Blessings Share Fest event Saturday, Nov. 3 will mark a special anniversary.

It will be the 30th year that the Coon Rapids church has staged Share Fest.

Back in 1981, the Women of Faith organization at the church took an idea from the American Lutheran Church (ALC) education materials to launch the first Share Fair, as it was called then.

According to a church newsletter story by Faith Lutheran Church member Cheryl Alvarez, the plan in 1981 was to bring garden produce and preserves to the Women of Faith regular meeting, sell them and give all the proceeds to world hunger through the ALC Hunger Appeal.

“By Share Fair Day Oct. 30, Women of Faith had an exciting church festival with garden produce, baked goods and handcrafted items to sell, demonstrations on ethnic foods, quilting, woodcarving, wheat weaving and Christmas tree ornaments,” Alvarez wrote.

In addition, Faith’s Bread for the World chapter served homebaked bread and provided information about hunger in the world, while pies were served in the Mary Circle pie shop and the Chancel Choir provided a sloppy joes lunch, she wrote.

That first year more than $2,000 was raised for world hunger and over the past 30 years, over $275,000 has been raised, according to Alvarez.

Share Fair or Share Fest, as it is known now, has taken place every year except for times when the church has been under construction, Alvarez wrote.

It has not just been the adults of the church that have been involved in Share Fest.

“Over the years Faith Kids have been involved in making crafts, selling etc. and they continue to be involved to this day,” Alvarez wrote.

“We continue to enjoy the pies and sloppy joes, and more importantly, the fellowship as our community comes together.”

The 2012 Share Fest runs from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 3 with games and activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Share Fest will feature a craft fair, bake sale, sloppy joes lunch, lefse, silent auction, pie and coffee, Scandinavian delights table, children’s gift shop and children’s games and activities.

All proceeds will benefit the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) world hunger appeal, the local Anoka County Brotherhood Council (ACBC) Food Shelf and the Community Emergency Assistance Program (CEAP).

Matching funds up to $700 will be provided by Thrivent Anoka County, one of 1,362 nationwide chartered local units of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans that brings Thrivent Financial for Lutherans members together for charitable, social and educational activities.

“In this year of drought, high unemployment and homelessness, we become even more aware of those who are not blessed as we are; those that go to bed hungry night after night even in our own community,” Alvarez wrote in the church newsletter.

“Our congregation has put our faith in action by doing something for the very real problem of hunger in our community and worldwide.”

Sue Baysden and Judy Lautenschlager are co-chairpersons of the 2012 Harvest of Blessings Share Fest.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]