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Easy as pie

Denver youth raise funds with auction

by Myra Holmes

Fundraising is a sweet tradition for the youth and congregation of Belleview Community Church, Littleton, Colo. That’s because the youth group’s main—often their only—fundraiser each year revolves around pie.

It’s a tradition that goes back at least one decade, maybe two. One Sunday each spring, the youth serve a simple lunch. This year’s April 18 menu featured BBQ sandwiches, chips and crudités. But the highlight of the day comes after the meal, as homemade pies are auctioned off to the highest bidder.

The pies are displayed during the meal, so potential bidders have opportunity to decide on their favorites. Students bring each donated pie to the stage, and the bidding begins. Jim Brenneman, a professional auctioneer from nearby Glennon Heights Mennonite Church, has donated his time and talent for the cause for a number of years, adding to the authenticity of the event.

Bidding is fast and furious and all in fun. Brotherly love and familial affiliations are momentarily set aside as friends and family members compete for that strawberry rhubarb or banana cream. New bonds are made as table-mates pool funds to raise the stakes. And stakes are high indeed. This year, a bourbon-pecan pie took honors for the top bid, going for $500. A blackberry-sour cream pie went for $475.

The Belleview congregation consistently responds with generosity, even in tough economic times. Total proceeds from this spring’s pie auction topped $6,000—pretty impressive for a congregation of about 150.

“The Belleview congregation never ceases to amaze me in their generosity when it comes to our students,” says student ministries pastor Blake Buhrman. “I think people get excited about giving to student ministry because they see what a difference it makes.”

The proceeds help defray the cost of camps, mission projects, National Youth Convention and other youth activities. The youth group includes a number of students from the community who either have limited resources or no family connection to church, so funds often enable those students to be involved.

Buhrman says that people give generously because “they want to put as many kids as possible in a position to hear about Christ,” so he works to honor that desire when using the funds.

While the Belleview youth are the big winners of the day, everyone gets a taste of “sweet success” as pies, ice cream and forks are passed around and shared. At this auction, everyone wins.

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