Nativity Festival nets $7,600 for Habitat for Humanity

The fifth annual Nativity Festival, held Sunday at the First United Methodist Church in Jefferson, drew good attendance and raised more than $7,600 for the Greene County affiliate of Heart of Iowa Habitat for Humanity. The total includes $2,750 donated by area banks as a match to funds raised.

A wide range of cherished nativity sets were on display, ranging from one made of flour and water clay 27 years ago by then first grader Jared Brinker, to an elaborate set hand painted by the family of Dean and Lois McAtee decades ago. Other nativity sets came from far away places.

Emcee Harry Ahrenholtz, Habitat for Humanity board member

The Nativity Festival concert drew about 160 persons for a variety of music. Harry Ahrenholtz, president of the board of directors of Heart of Iowa Habitat for Humanity, was emcee. Keri Brooker and a brass ensemble drawn from the Town & Country Band played prelude music.

The Joyful Noise women’s choir from First Presbyterian Church in Jefferson, the Praise Powered Trio of Rippey and the Central Christian Church choir sang. The guitar group from St Joseph Catholic Church performed Maureen Borkowski’s “Can I Hold the Baby, Mary?”. Chad Schmertmann, band director at Greene County Middle School, amazed the audience with a piano solo. Greene County High School seniors Michael Kennedy and Nadia Fisher sang duets and Tori Riley read an original poem written for the event. The concert ended with the Greene County Singers performing several selections. Four dancers from Prairie Blue Creative Arts did an interpretive dance for the first selection. The Singers are accompanied by Schmertmann and directed by Sheilah McGregor Pound. Tori Riley played flute with three of the songs. Members of the audience were invited to join the Singers for their final number.

Chuck Offenburger planned the concert.

Members of the Greene County High School Interact Club helped serve a soup supper in the Fellowship Hall following the concert. Donations were accepted at the nativity display, the concert, and the supper.

Dale Higgins coaxes bids on pies

As the diners finished their meal auctioneer Dale Higgins, assisted by Teresa Mobley and Angie Jewett, began a live auction of 17 pies donated by renown bakers around the county. Homestead Bakery and Uptown Café also donated pies.

This picture-perfect cherry pie was made by Marianne Carlson. Her sister Gina Harrington’s apple pie topped it in bids, bringing in $240.

The pie auction brought in $2,500, an increase of $200 over last year. An apple pie baked by Gina Harrington netted the most at $240.

Habitat for Humanity in 2016 repaired five existing homes, making a significant impact on the lives of local families unable to achieve needed outcomes with their own resources and skills.

Major support for the Helping Hands program comes from the Greene County Community Foundation, the Greene County board of supervisors, and donations from service clubs, churches, businesses and individuals.

The Nativity Festival is the only fundraiser of the Heart of Iowa Habitat for Humanity in Greene County.

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