Students Support Relief Sale 5K and More

October 4, 2021 / Andrea Wenger
EMS middle school runners at the Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale.
EMS middle school runners at the Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale.

Eastern Mennonite School’s cross-country team made it possible for 112 people to run for relief on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021 at the Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale.

It was the third year that cross country coach Chafin Vrolijk, who is also an academic lab instructor, and assistant coach Katie Cimini, organized the 5K, together with support from the cross country team.

Seven Eastern Mennonite middle school runners trained an extra week of cross country in order to compete in the 5K, Vrolijk reports. Four out the seven made the top three runners in their age group. See more results here.

Varsity cross country runners held practice at the course the day before the sale, and spent the afternoon marking the course with paint, flags, and cones. On race day, they helped with registration and served as course marshals, directing runners where to go at various points throughout the course.

“Every year the team has played a huge part in making this event a success,” says Vrolijk. “They have a lot of fun getting to be the ones watching people run instead of actually running themselves for once,” she says with a laugh.

The Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale is held annually on the first weekend of October at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds. Proceeds benefit Mennonite Central Committee‘s international relief, service, peace, and development work.

Eastern Mennonite School has a long history of involvement in the sale over the years including National Honor Society managing a potato bar for many years, Spanish class helping with empanadas, some years of collecting recyclables, collecting coins for the My Coins Count effort, and Family and Consumer Science classes making baked goods to sell.

This year, the EMS Chamber Choir was able to sing while people waited in the breakfast barn. “Due to COVID and our new block schedule, it’s the first time we’ve had a choir ready to go at this time of year,” explained choir director Jared Stutzman. “People seemed to appreciate it, and I know we were thrilled to be there.”

Many faculty and staff members also serve in roles with church groups supporting the auction, preparing and serving food, making and selling baked goods, purchasing items, and more.

Preliminary results indicate this year’s sale raised over $355,000 for the work of MCC.

Check out some more photos from this story

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