You may have heard of an Amish barn raising, but have you heard of an Amish home raising - in Haiti? It's happening in response to the January 2010 earthquake with the help of the Haiti Benefit Auction and members like IBO Ervin Raber, affiliated with MarkerMan.
This Amish-Mennonite group raises money in seven states by auctioning off items like quilts, homemade toys, furniture, tools, and more, then sends the money to missions in Haiti to help the poor and devastated. Included in the auction this year were 12-foot by 16-foot and 10-foot by 20-foot homes and a crew to help local inhabitants raise them. Many of the homes also included a table and chairs, bed and bedding, towels, and plates to begin a new life. So far, 100 homes have been built across the devastated nation and approximately 200 homes were bid on at the various auctions. The Haiti Benefit Auction has raised approximately $2 million for Haiti missions annually, and this year response to Haiti relief efforts have been phenomenal, bringing in $400,000 in one weekend in Florida and $300,000 in one weekend in New York.
Ervin has been active in Haiti Benefit Auctions for 27 years, including as a member of his home state board in Indiana and as an auctioneer. He served a term on the executive board and in March traveled to Haiti to inspect the missions and check the progress of home-building. Ervin is proud to report, "One hundred percent of the money we raise goes to Haiti to fund missions. If we raise $400,000 in an auction, then $400,000 of it goes to Haiti. There are no administrative fees, no salaries, nothing." Maximizing the funds for the missions frees the missions to do their work instead of worrying about fundraising, says Ervin.
For Ervin personally, working with the auctions is all about helping people: "As IBOs, we're all about helping other people. That's what this business is all about." Ervin has been an IBO since 1975.