SHICKSHINNY — It was the most egg-cellent project ever for the Shickshinny First United Methodist Church.
A core group of volunteers toiled daily for weeks in the basement of the church making Easter eggs to raise money to keep the church going and in good repair.
In 2013, about 16,000 eggs were sold, but this year the total was 25,709 — a record for the 20-plus-year-old annual project.
And at 85 cents each, the church will make much more than last year’s $10,000, and the money will be used to make necessary repairs and to allow outreach programs to continue.
“The money helps us pay our expenses, like maintenance and heat,” said Jim Bach, administrative chairman for the church. “In essence, the money raised keeps the church going and it allows us to continue offering our outreach programs like the food pantry.”
Bach was quick to credit the volunteers, led by Linda and Andy Maczuga. They mixed the chocolate and fillings of peanut butter and coconut cream, molded countless batches into egg shapes, dipped them in the milk and dark chocolate, trimmed the excess and placed each in a bag, sealed with Scotch tape.
Linda Maczuga, 69, said Monday it’s too early to tell how much profit the project will yield for the church. She said expenses, such as for chocolate, have to be deducted from the $21,852 in revenue generated from sales.
But there will be no labor costs, Maczuga said, crediting the success of the weeks-long project to the volunteers who came not only from the host church, but also from other churches and denominations in the area. “We are very pleased and we are grateful to the people who helped us,” she said.
Maczuga said she and Andy, 70, are tired, as are most of the volunteers who gave countless hours to the project while also attending to their personal Easter preparations.
“All of the volunteers support the church,” she said. “And they truly enjoy each other’s company. It’s just a nice project.”
Chris Miller and his business partner, fellow Wilkes University professor Sid Halsor, established a website that features generational recipes and the stories of how they came to be. The website is recipemadereal.com and the first recipe featured was for the Shickshinny First United Methodist Church Easter eggs.
Miller sold around 2,000 eggs online, half to people in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the other half to people from Tennessee, Texas, Kentucky, California and other states.
“A few of the folks we shipped to said they had local ties, but most said they liked that they were helping a small church stay around,” Miller said.
The Shickshinny First United Methodist Church was founded in 1868.
Bach said the church houses a food bank and pantry, and while they are not operated directly by the church, they are given space to store their food and distribute it to local families in need. The food pantry provides meals to 150 families each month.