2013 Haiti Benefit Auctions

Two weeks ago, the Haiti Benefit Auction was held in Sarasota, Florida. These happen every year in a number of Amish/Mennonite areas to benefit the people of Haiti. Here’s a mission statement from the PA Haiti auction website:

This is a cooperative effort of many churches and individuals to bring relief to the hungry, sick, naked, and homeless of Haiti. Our ultimate goal is to bring them to Christ through providing for their physical and spiritual needs. Relief is given throughout the country of Haiti without regard to race, religion, or creed.

Benefit auctions like the Haiti events are one way some Amish participate in outreach beyond the local community.  The Florida auction is traditionally the first of the year.  A reader who was present shares:

 Two auctioneers had fun at the tail end of the auction by taking turns selling items.  You notice the difference in high-pitched voices and low-pitched voices that way.  I think they went faster, too, almost on the gallop.  One time [one of them] started selling an item and told [the other] to finish selling it.  Sometimes one started selling before the other had quite finished up, maybe both talking at once.  It drove the clerks crazy, but it woke up the audience.  The clerks had a hard time keeping up.


The new amount of proceeds for the HBA is now more than last year’s…The highest quilt sold for $1,700, which was the same as a unique child’s rocking horse that moved forward as the child rocked.  When I asked the doughnut makers from Greenville, TN, how many doughnuts they expected to make (beforehand), she said, “Oh, a couple thousand.”

The event also included barbecued chicken and 700 pounds of catfish to keep all bellies present full.

In the video below, you’ll see an auction preview with some of the items displayed and the setup going on (with shots of a “perpetual motion” device, favorite entertainer John Schmid, and what looks like a half-acre food tent).

There is also some pretty nice auctioneering going on at the end, by a bid caller known as “Mr. Speedy”. What else do you notice in this video? (removed)

2013 Haiti Benefit Auctions

If you’d like to attend one of the Haiti Benefit Auctions, the 2013 schedule and location information is as follows (updated with previously missing dates and changes to the PA & KY dates and KY location):

Florida Haiti Benefit Auction – January 19, 2013 (next auction: Jan 18, 2014)
Sarasota County Fairgrounds,
3000 Ringling Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34237

Kentucky Haiti Benefit Auction – May 18, 2013
205 Tress Shop Road
Trenton, Kentucky 42286

Indiana Haiti Benefit Auction – May 25, 2013
Shipshewanna Antique Auction Building
345 N Van Buren St.
Shipshewana, IN 46565

New York Haiti Benefit Auction – June 15, 2013
Penn Yan Fairgrounds
Old NY 14
Penn Yan, NY 14572

Pennsylvania Haiti Benefit Auction – July 20, 2013
4092 Old Philadelphia Pike
Gordonville, PA 17529

Ohio Haiti Benefit Auction – August 31, 2013
Mount Hope Auction,
8076 SR 241
Millersburg, OH 44654

Illinois Haiti Benefit Auction – October, Oct. 26, 2013
Otto Center
2058 CR 1800 E
Arthur, IL 61911

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    1. Lattice

      Thanks for posting this, Erik. I’m thankful that the Amish desire to help provide for the needs of others outside their particular community and faith.

      Gee, you’re up early…

    2. Mary Yoder

      Haiti Benefit Auction

      We are the ones up early, check his time zone, Lattice!!smile…

      1. Lattice

        Oh! But where is he? North Carolina, no?

      2. I am in NC but Mary is also right sometimes I am 6 hours ahead of that 🙂 But this post was actually up at Amish farmer time b/c I wrote it yesterday and used the handy auto-post feature.

        1. Lattice

          Oooohh, the auto-post feature…

          All this time I have been admiring what an early bird you are! 🙂

    3. Tom

      Good morning,
      From the video it looked like the 2012 Penn Yan NY auction. I will have to mark my calendar for this year.

    4. Anne Hendrix

      Great effort

      What an amazing effort by these communities!

    5. Valerie

      Love the Haiti Benefit Auction!
      Our own Ernie Yoder on AA is very involved in this event-
      Pictures Ernie?
      We enjoyed meeting Ernie & wife at our Ohio Haiti Benefit-
      It is amazing to watch the whole event come together and the display of information of the missionary involvement of the Mennonites is incredible at our OH Haiti Benefit Auction

    6. Carolyn B

      That auctioneer almost sounded musical, lyrical in his calling.

      I liked the camera panned shots of the furniture and, of course, the sticky buns table. Yummy!

    7. Haiti

      Why is Haiti the recipient of all these auctions? There are other places in need as well as in the U. S. Just wondering.

      1. Larry

        Other places

        Try the Rosebud-Pine Ridge-Standing Rock-Lower Brule in South Dakota. They need help badly, especially with winter clothes. We took a load out last December. Some still use hand pumps for water, etc. That is less than 250 miles from Sioux Falls. Thanks

      2. Ed

        I think you’ve hit on the challenge of giving — when there is so much need in so many places, where to begin to help?

        And of course, how to help a people, without fostering dependency or resentment, or undermining local efforts?

        If any Amish or Mennonites have made the trip to Haiti and dealt with these issues, I’d be interested to read their accounts.

        1. Valerie

          To Ed

          You might find some answers at http://www.mennodiscuss.com
          it is a discussion forum and I know one of the members just announced his family is returning to Haiti to live (their second time). Maybe you could post a question to DanZ.

        2. Linda

          Ed, you may be interested to know that Gary Miller, a German Baptist, is also concerned about the dependency of the needy in Third World countries on foreign aid. Under Christian Aid Ministries, he started and now manages a microloan program called SALT Microfinance Solutions. SALT (Shared Accountability Lending & Teaching) gives small loans of $50 to $200 to help poor people start a business, make a living and break the cycle of poverty. They have a high repayment rate of 98% in Haiti and Ghana. The recipients are accountable to a small, local group. They are also taught about financial and spiritual principles. A Sept. 22, 2011, article, “Christian Aid Ministries reaching out to Haiti as SALT of the earth,” can be read at http://www.holmesbargainhunter.com/article/20110922/NEWS/709229965/-1/hcj26

          It is also explained at

          1. Linda I just recently had a look at some literature from SALT, which a New Order friend gave me. It looks like a good program. As you mention there is accountability and an expectation of repayment so it is operating in a different way than a donation-based charity. Especially for fledgling business owners that expectation is a gift in and of itself.

    8. Valerie

      Other Benefits

      The Mennonite Relief Auction that is held in Ohio benefits approx. 77 third world countries from what I understand.
      It’s a similar event & raises ALOT of money-
      One way everyone can contriubute to this one is bringing the change they collect throughout the year. Just the change collected at this auction, is sent to countries like VietNam to provide clean water systems.

      Here’s a link to see what MCC puts together for this annual Charity Auction as well.

    9. Joanne

      Arthur, Il. auction

      We went to the Arthur, Il. benefit auction last year and I was amazed at almost everything! Food, people, donations, horse and buggies there, Amish, Mennonite, ‘English’. I’d love to go again and I see you have it listed above. It’s worth a special trip.

    10. Ed

      Looks like a fun event! I love auctions.
      On the video Erik links to, for those who just want to see and hear the auctioneer, skip all the way to close to the end 🙂

    11. Linda

      Ernest Bontrager made some videos about the New York Haiti Benefit Auction. You can attend the 2013 New York Haiti Benefit Auction for 9:49 minutes from your armchair by watching:

      -“Penn Yan Haiti Benefit Auction GoPro Camera Edition,” June 2013, 9:49 video. Watch as some quilts are sold.

      -“Food at the Penn Yan Haiti Auction,” 8:39. Behind the scenes. It was interesting to see all those red potatoes being cooked, and the soft pretzels being formed, and to see the Salad Bar in a canoe.

    12. Linda

      Florida Haiti Benefit Auction

      Just a friendly reminder that this is the weekend of the 2014 Florida Haiti Benefit Auction. The schedule is posted at: http://www.floridahba.com/

      Quilts and furniture are auctioned from about 10:00 a.m. until early afternoon on Saturday. Free parking and free admission. On Friday evenings they dismiss by about 8 p.m. On Saturday the auction goes until mid-afternoon.