Years ago I was in a church that raised money for projects at Easter. They had a regular factory in the fellowship hall. An old industrial mixer would mix fourteen pounds of filling or centers, enough for 28 half pound eggs. These centers would be covered with chocolate and decorated to make beautiful decadent confections.
The problem was this money making project was done by a very few people. It was like the children’s story of the “little red hen.” I’m sure you’ve heard the story she planted seeds and asked for help from her children receiving none. The same for every step in the process all the way to the table always finding no help. Then it was time to eat the fruits of her labor, everyone who wouldn’t help with the garden wanted to help eat. It was a lot of work involved in those eggs and very few people helped.
A few men helped sell the eggs. The husband of the lady running the mixer would open the church and light the heater. The first day there would be a few husbands helping form the centers of peanut butter, coconut, or butter-cream in molds. After the first couple of evenings it would be 5 women working from early morning to late evening. One lady in her sixties, would run the mixer, she didn’t even get help with the 25 pound sacks of sugar. The pastor’s wife would stand over a crock pot of melted chocolate covering the centers that had been molded and measured to seal in the freshness. A few men would take egg orders at work. There were two women decorating the eggs with names of the people the egg was being made for, or Happy Easter, surrounded by little flowers. Each egg from start to finish was a large investment of time.
Each egg had to be mixed in the large mixer bought used from an out of business bakery. Then packed in a mold so it would be a true half pound, turned out of the molds and placed on long tables covered with wax paper. They rested a few hours then it was time for the chocolate first the bottoms and when the chocolate had set up the tops were done. Since everything looked the same with the chocolate they all looked the same so you had to keep the different flavors on different tables. In a day or two the whole fellowship hall was filled with tables covered in eggs. The next step was to write the names on the eggs. When the egg was sold the buyer could address it to their loved one getting their name put on top. From this point the egg had an owner and the label stayed with the individual egg until it was delivered. Flowers were put on next with pastry tubes forming tiny violets, or carnations or roses in icing. When they had time to dry they were boxed in plastic boxes in a bed of Easter straw like you would have in baskets. The order would be taped to the top of the box. Then whoever had taken the order was responsible to deliver them.
It was supposed to make money. It was not as profitable as expected, you had to buy butter, powered sugar, favoring like coconut, (real coconut wasn’t put there) peanut butter, chocolate, boxes, and wax paper. It was not a cheep project to make those eggs. It had become a tradition some in the church felt obligated to make the eggs.
It was also a tradition unlike the little hen to all share alike in the proceeds and glory of the egg making project. When it was all said in done a church project is the entire church’s not just the few women who make it happen.
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