Relief Sales offer a little bit of everything—quilts, artwork, antiques, crafts, music—but one highlight for everyone is the food. The 50th Annual Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale on October 1, 2016, was no exception with its homemade donuts, apple butter, country breakfast, Brunswick stew, barbecue chicken and a farmer’s market with tons of local produce. Our East Coast IVEP (International Volunteer Exchange Program) participants had a blast exploring the relief sale and sampling some of our traditional foods, all while supporting Mennonite Central Committee!

Hear what they had to say about some of your favorites…


Country Breakfast




  • “Biscuits with gravy were new for me. And I liked it, but not for breakfast.”
    - Edith Johanna Munoz, Colombia (serving in Harrisonburg, VA)
  • “I had pancakes with maple syrup and sausage for breakfast. This is an unusual combination where I’m from so I felt the need to deviate from the norm. The food was excellent, a very heavy and hearty meal. I should definitely learn how to make them (pancakes) before I return home.”
    - Moses Osiro Osiro, Kenya (serving in New York, NY)
  • “Breakfast was common (familiar to me) but it tasted different because I accidentally put too much of the sauce (syrup) on my pancake. Which then got in my eggs, but that turned out to be positive… the food was really delicious.”
    - Mohau Ishmael Phooko, Lesotho (serving in Lansdale, PA)
  • “The sausage gravy was new for me, was really yummy, but I don't think very healthy.”
    - Melissa Oxla Roman, Guatemala (serving in Harrisonburg, VA)


Strawberry Pie

  • “To me, strawberry pie is very good. It's a bit sweet. I did not eat it alone; we shared it together and had fun.”
    -Koll Phann, Cambodia (serving in New Holland, PA)


Kettle Corn

  • “The popcorn was so much sweeter than the kinds I had before!”
    - Wycliff Ochieng Otieno, Kenya (serving in Telford, PA)



  • “Donuts reminded me of home, but only until I ate it. They are not the same. They are good, but I like them more in Bosnia.”
    -Nataša Gudalo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (serving in Harrisonburg, VA)
  • “(I’ve) come to learn that most of USA food has a high content of sugar.”
    -Donald Nyakyema, Tanzania (serving in Quakertown, PA)
  • “The donut was so good, but I think the line did not make sense.” (The line to purchase donuts was super long!)
    - Irene Irawati, Indonesia (serving in Ephrata, PA)


2016-2017 East Coast IVEPers (from left):

Front Row: Nataša Gudalo, Souda "Nok" Chirdchung (tan coat), Wycliff Ochieng Otieno, Koll Phann, Mohau Ishmael Phooko

Back Row: Donald Nyakyema, Moses Osiro Osiro, Sie "Jonas" Da, Karen Marie Valladares Cano, Edith Johanna Munoz, Ayda Maria Villabos Cano, Melissa Oxla Roman, Irene Irawati

Not pictured: Eirene Dwirosa Mulyaningtyas, Sarou Pheng

Food is just one of the new experiences these young adults encounter while living in the East Coast. A year-long cross-cultural and leadership development program, IVEP gives Christian young adults from countries outside Canada and the U.S. a way to use their skills and engage in Christian service in a wide variety of positions serving in schools, thrift shops, retirement homes, day cares, farms and more. Living with a host family, IVEPers make new friends, gain work skills and have new experiences. For more information on hosting an IVEPer or becoming an MCC East Coast IVEP Partner Agency, contact Kim Dyer, Young Adult Program Coordinator, at