Wurst Fundraiser Ever nets more than $12,000 for MCC

Astrid Huber chooses some cookies to deliver to a vehicle during the drive-through fundraiser Saturday night in Newton. Wendy Nugent/Newton Now

By Wendy Nugent, Newton Now

NEWTON—German tunes played in the background as the Tim and Heidi Huber family, assisted by others, served up Octoberfest meals to raise money for Mennonite Central Committee, using food to help feed others throughout the world.

The event, which was Saturday night at Shalom Mennonite Church in Newton, was called the Wurst Fundraiser Ever. Even though they called it the “wurst,” it did well, raising $12,520 in donations and doing 326 meals.

“The money will be used for relief, which includes hunger projects, as well as peace and development work that helps improve lives through things like clean water projects, agricultural advancements, job training, etc.,” Tim said.

Tim and Heidi were in the Shalom kitchen on Friday, preparing the food. Involved in the meal were about 80 pounds of cabbage, 140 pounds of potatoes and 30 pounds of bacon.

Tim and Heidi cooked everything for the meal and then their kids, Gustav, Hazel and Astrid helped collect donations and deliver food to vehicles in a drive-through fashion. The girls and Heidi dressed in dirndl dresses, while Tim and Gustav wore lederhosen, German folk clothing/costumes.

The idea for the fundraiser came from an event they have at home, every year. The Hubers have had what they call Hutoberfest annually since 2009, when they returned from Germany after volunteering with MCC. Their first Hutoberfest was a couple months after they returned to the states.

“And we’ve done it every year since in our back yard, except this year,” Tim said.

Hutoberfest is for friends and family with 75-125 people attending. Hutoberfest features grilled brats, Tim’s homemade beer and carbonated apple juice, large soft pretzels and side dishes others bring.

Octoberfest in Munich is a family affair, but that’s not done in the states, Tim said. They have things for kids in Germany to do, like rides.

“We’ve always wanted our celebration to be families—family time,” Tim said, adding because of the pandemic, they thought it wouldn’t be responsible to pack all those people in their back yard, so they decided to help MCC out this year with their fest and turn it into a fundraiser.

Since the Hubers were in Germany for MCC, the reason for Hutoberfest was MCC, and this year, MCC is celebrating its century mark, so they wanted to honor MCC.

The food was served by donation. Food included potato salad, brats, heart-shaped chocolate cookies made by Brenda Turner that resembled cookies in Germany, rolls and purple cabbage.

Heidi said Turner gave them a good price on the cookies and then Keith’s Foods in Goessel took care of the bratwurst and the Hubers paid for other food.

“It’s something the community worked together on,” Heidi said. “My mom made the rolls.”

To also mark MCC’s centennial, Huber said he and Greg Nickel made a centennial ale for MCC, which used hard red winter wheat in Goessel. That’s the strain of wheat from the Ukraine area Mennonites brought to the states in the 1870s.

“The beer features a variety of hops called Centennial,” Tim said. “There’s 100 bottles of Centennial Ale.”

The label features a photo of the Fordson tractors that MCC sent to Ukraine in 1920. Also during the event, a Fordson tractor like those was on display, courtesy of Jerry Toews.

“We love doing this family celebration with family and friends,” Tim said. “For me, that’s one reason we have this, so I can wear lederhosen. We’re celebrating our time with MCC in Germany. Every non-profit can use some help fundraising these days, and MCC is no exception.”