MOUNT HOPE — Helping others offers a personal benefit. A willingness to help others makes you a better person. That is one of the joys of being part of the annual Ohio Haiti Auction and makes it such a successful program.

The 31st Annual Ohio Haiti Benefit Auction is a cooperative effort of many of churches and individuals to bring relief to the hungry, the sick, the naked and homeless people of Haiti. The ultimate goal is to win them to Christ. Relief is given without regard to religion, race or creed.

The Haiti Benefit Auction is held once a year on Labor Day weekend. This year, the event begins Friday, Sept. 1, at 4 p.m. and wraps up after the musical show around 9 p.m., and starts up again Saturday morning, Sept. 2, at 6 a.m. with a pancake breakfast. The Ohio Haiti Benefit Auction was born in 1987 by brethren who saw the great need, and had compassion on the poor people in Haiti.

"We are a channel through which people can contribute with auction items, or by helping," said Dean Wengerd, chairman of the event. "All labor is donated; all workers and board members are expected to pay for what they eat. There are no salaries and no commissions. All auction proceeds go 100 percent to the many missions in Haiti which are required to give a financial report, meet certain standards and show proper use of funds in the past."

Everything that is needed for the Haiti Benefit Auction is donated from the local business community, which enables the committee to make sure 100 percent of the funds raised go directly to the mission. Whether you are a donor of goods and materials for the auction, a volunteer or a buyer, you are doing your part.

Wengerd is extremely grateful for the generous community in which he lives.

"We feel extremely blessed as a board supporting Haiti and the missions, with the community and the way everybody chips in," he said. "It would be impossible to do what we do without the community.

"This gives us an opportunity to help people in another area who we couldn’t help otherwise," Wengerd added. "We feel blessed to have the opportunity to do this. We could be on the other end of needing the assistance. They were born in a country that is poor, and I think God is testing us to see if we’re willing to help our neighbor as it states in the Bible. Our neighbors, worldwide."

Wengerd is also excited about the opportunity to hold the event in the new event center at Mount Hope Auction Grounds.

"We’ll have some tents set up, but we’re moving down to the new event center," Wengerd said. "It’s going to be a bit different for us, a new set-up, and the Mullets are great folks to work with."

The best thing, Wengerd said, is seeing the success of the program.

"The changes we see in Haiti from the missions, people who are becoming self-supportive and we can see the difference," he said. "You see the changes, the improvements made through agriculture, specifically the way they irrigate. It’s amazing some of the crops they are raising, that have never been done before. You need to learn what works, because it’s not the same as we have here in America. You have to find ways to bring water so your crops will grow."

Items to be auctioned off include: quality handcrafted furniture; garage (32 feet by 50 feet); outdoor furniture; new carriages; antique tractors; lawn mowers; storage barns; semi-load of Walnut Lumber and much more.