Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries just about any berries a person could want were available Saturday, July 12, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. But these berries were not just any berries.
They were berries with a cause.
Sponsored by the Outreach in the Evangelism Committee, Berry Festival is an annual program put on to raise money for a specific international fund. This year, according to Committee Chairperson Danny Patrick, the funding will benefit the China and Myanmar Relief Fund, to provide for families whose homes were damaged as a result of a May earthquake.
"The result is that we raised $510 total," said Patrick, who explained that anyone could come to the church and enjoy the berries, but that donations were appreciated.
According to Patrick, about 100 people attended this year's Berry Festival. "We got a lot of people to come from the community," said Patrick.
Alberta Cole, a member of the committee said, "It was excellent that we got to see a lot of people from the neighborhood."
According to Cole, the committee tries to stay aware of disaster situations during the year, then decides what the funds raised by the berry festival should go toward. In previous years, said Cole, the money has gone to Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit housing organization, and the Beltrone Living Center in Colonie, a property of independent senior housing operated by Colonie Senior Services. Patrick said that this year, the committee chose the China and Myanmar Relief Fund after hearing in the news about the earthquakes, which claimed the lives of thousands.
"We thought the [earthquake] disasters, they were just so devastating and so unfair," said Cole.
The funds generated from the Berry Festival will go through the Lutheran Church in America.
According to Patrick, this year has been the most successful for Berry Festival. "Last year, I think we raised $429," he said. Patrick also said that the year before, the church raised around $300.