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BERLIN -- The Holmes County Kidney Fund Inc. turns 41 years old this year. Come out and help celebrate more than 40 years of life-saving grace on Friday and Saturday, June 2-3, at the Mount Hope Auction.
The Holmes County Kidney Fund has been holding an auction to help families offset the expenses of costly transplants and provide assistance with the medication.
The event kicks off Friday night with some exciting volleyball action, a bake sale and complete barbecue chicken menu, followed by praise and worship music performed by Amos Raber Jr. at 6 p.m., Hometown at 7 p.m. and Soaring Eagles at 8 p.m. The auction begins Saturday morning and caps off Saturday afternoon with the quilt auction following a lunch stand.
The fund began as a way for the Yoder family to give back to the community for helping when Vernon Yoder had a kidney transplant, one of the first in the area.
"I took over for my brother when his health started to give out," Marv Yoder said. "He passed away last March."
The Holmes County Kidney Fund stays true to its roots. Founded as a voluntary nonprofit organization in 1976 by Lizzie Ann Yoder, the goal was simple: give back to a community that was so instrumental in helping offset the medical expenses of her son's kidney transplant. Lizzie Ann oversaw the fund until her death in 1979. Today, her children keep the vision alive, with her youngest son Marv chairing the organization with the help of a council of volunteers.
"Kidney transplants are very expensive. As we have funds, we assist with doctors expenses," the event chair said. "Primarily, we want to be there as a maintenance tool. Hospitals won't do a transplant until they have an assurance that the post meds program is in place and taken care of, because without that, everything else is moot. It's an ongoing therapy afterwards that needs to be in place."
Kidney disease hits close to home for the Yoder family; it's something they're passionate about fighting.
For 40 years, The Kidney Fund is still a Yoder family project, but it's grown to include members of other families as well, families touched by the generosity of a community that genuinely cares.
"This event has really blossomed in the last dozen years," said Yoder. "The more clients we pick up locally, the more the families of those clients get involved. And it just keeps growing. The local Amish community is very supportive of this event."
The Holmes County Kidney Fund assists area residents as well as those from neighboring communities suffering from kidney disease who have no other means of support. The Fund provides financial aid for prescription drugs, transportation to and from dialysis centers and medical bills. Last year, the fund raised more than $110,000 to help local patients. The rising cost of care can be an ever-growing burden on an already stressed family, so the fund helps relieve the pressure. Its monthly budget is depleted quickly, which is why donations are so important. Currently, The Holmes County Kidney Fund is providing monetary aid to 20 friends.
The annual auction at the Mount Hope Auction Barn is one of the ways the Kidney Fund is able to sustain itself. Items such as a 30-by-40 building will be auctioned off, along with a complete bedroom suite and a dinette set. Other auction items include handcrafted Amish furniture, home and garden accessories, processed beef and much more. A buggy, a surrey, two standard bred buggy horses and Amish- and Mennonite-made quilts will also be available.
"We are different from a lot of auctions because we don't don't have consignment items," Yoder said. "We ask local businesses if they want to contribute, and they tell us to come by and they will have something for us."
He is continually amazed by the generous support from the community.
Yoder said no Holmes County gathering would be complete without great food. A fully stocked lunch stand, featuring barbecued chicken with all the sides, ensures that no visitors ever go hungry. Just be sure to save room for dessert.
He says the Friday evening volleyball tournament at the Mount Hope Auction that began a few years ago has grown into a huge event that helps with the fund. Carry-out dining of barbecued chicken with all the trimmings begins at 4 p.m. on Friday. Gospel musicand entertainment for the kids is also included.
For more information, go to www.holmescountykidneyfund.org.