Fundraiser brings community together

Published 10:47 am Thursday, October 16, 2014

PEDRO — Several things signal that fall is upon us. Leaves changing color, cooler temperatures, Halloween decorations and members of Lawrence Furnace Church making more than 1,000 quarts of apple butter.

“Every year everyone around here knows we make our apple butter the first part of October,” Nancy Steed, treasurer of the Lawrence Furnace Church Auxiliary, said. “People from the community and other churches help us make it. Judge (O. Clark) Collins’ workforce helps us stir, too. We appreciate all the help we get.”

Making and selling apple butter as a fundraiser for the church began in 1943. Thelma Shope, president of the auxiliary, said nearly 2,500 quarts were made during the 50th anniversary.

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“Years ago the church needed financial help,” she said. “The idea for making and selling apple butter started as a way to raise money for whatever the church has a need for.”

Apple butter money has been used for a variety of things at the church, whether general maintenance and upkeep or upgrades. The first project funded with apple butter money is the church’s existing outdoor shelter. New carpet, a piano, basement floor tiles, bathrooms, basement cabinets, basement tables and chairs, siding, two new roofs and the heating and air conditioning were also bought, built or replaced because of apple butter sales.

“Everyone looks forward to this,” Steed said. “We start at 4 a.m. for two Wednesdays and go all day.”

Although it originates in kettles in the heart of Lawrence County, the finished product is shipped all over Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Georgia and there are annual standing orders for people in Florida and as far away as Houston, Texas.

Shope said the price for the apple butter rarely changes. The current prices of $4.50 per pint and $9 per quart have been in place for the past five years. The diet and extra cinnamon versions of the apple butter have been produced for the past decade.

The apple butter that is unclaimed will be on sale at Tammy Hanshaw’s booth during the Ironton Farmers Market this Saturday.