It began 30 years ago as a way to help pay for their new church being built just outside of town. The congregation at Grace United Methodist church had outgrown their original house of worship in downtown Millersburg.
Working five days a week, in the ten weeks leading up to Easter, church volunteers turned out as many as 200-thousand peanut butter and coconut eggs a year, taking a big bite out of a 1.1-million dollar mortgage.
Then, in 1998, with that financial hurdle cleared, egg sale proceeds were directed toward a one and a half-million dollar building addition, featuring a gymnasium and community room, open to the entire Millersburg area.
“It's a lot of fellowship. A lot of fun,” said egg project director Sue Rubendall. “We have a lot of friends here. And a lot of good gossip.”
Until 1991, the eggs were hand-dipped in chocolate and cooled in refrigerators, a labor intensive part of the egg-making process. Since then, an automatic chocolate coating machine gives others in the egg-making process all they can handle.
“In an hour and a half, I bag fifteen hundred eggs.” said one long-time volunteer.
With a shortage of younger volunteers available today, egg production at the church has been cut to three days a week. But helpers from other area churches have joined the campaign, which still sells more than 60-thousand eggs a season, with proceeds going to regional charities and civic groups.
When asked why their eggs remain in demand in an increasingly competitive fund-raising market, Rubendall says they try not to fix what isn't broken.
“We do not change the recipe,” said Rubendall. “We do not allow any changes in the ingredients or brands. Everything has remained the same since probably the mid 1980s.”