From the Media Capital, to the Global Ethiopian Community
Saturday October 23rd 2021

St. Mary of Zion Fundraiser, A Night to Remember


( On Sunday, February 27th, hundreds filled the Ukrainian Community Center in Yonkers, New York, for St. Mary of Zion’s Fundraiser with hopes of winning the grand prize: a 2010 Toyota Camry.

When the winner was announced, it set off a memorable ending for a church that has come a far way to ownership.

Tickets were $30 at the door and raffle tickets were priced at $50 for a chance to win one of many prizes including a 3-piece sectional, round trip ticket to Ethiopia, 42” Panasonic flat screen TV, Dell Laptop, and the much talked about 2010 Toyota Camry. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards paying the church’s mortgage.

The event began with a welcome speech by St. Mary of Zion Chairman of the Board, Ato Getachew Sime who then opened the floor to guest speaker Ato Mehari Belay, Chairman of the Board at Kedus Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church in Washington, D.C.

Fundraising Committee Chair, W/ro Amsale Abegaze addressed the crowd and was overcome with emotions as she highlighted the progress of the church: once on the verge of being kicked out, to now owning a place which parishioners can truly call home.

Later W/ro Amsale Abegaze was presented with a special bouquet by Ato Yilma Kassaye on behalf of the congregation for her major role in organizing the raffle.

Comedian Meskerem Bekele entertained the crowd while making sure to walk a fine line as he acknowledged this was in fact “a family event.”

One of the highlights of the event was a powerful silent play performed by the church’s choir.  The case was made for the importance of having faith, a good friend, and a local church during times of adversity.

As the long-awaited raffle neared committee members made sure transparency was in place.  Volunteers were selected to audit the tickets being raffled against a database of all tickets purchased.  A total of five volunteers came forward to draw each of the five winning ticket numbers.

Close to two thousand raffle tickets were sold.  New Jersey residents claimed both the 5th and 4th place prizes, while a lucky winner from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, won the 3rd prize. A Long Island resident won the 2nd place prize- a 3 piece sectional sofa set.

When the moment arrived for the announcement of the grand prize winner, the 2010 Camry, attendees held their breath while some looked down at their ticket to get one last look.

When the winner was finally announced the entire audience jumped out of their seats while several ran to the front to join in singing praises.

The Grand Prize winner purchased tickets on behalf of her late daughter and donated the tickets to St. Mary’s church prior to the event.

Winning Numbers

Ticket #                      Prize

569                                         2010 Toyota Camry

414                                         Round Trip Ticket to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

1003                                     42” Panasonic LCD

740                                         Dell Laptop

572                                         Leather/Fabric Sofa Set


Reader Feedback

One Response to “St. Mary of Zion Fundraiser, A Night to Remember”

  1. Moges Alemu says:

    Congratulations on your successful completion of the Tombola Fundraiser Program with a great success. I am impressed by the solidarity Ethiopians manifest at the St. Mary of Zion in Yonkers. I was also previlaged to have the chance of visiting the new church at Yorkers thanks to my brother Getachew Sime, Board Chairman and my sister Yeshewa Tshai Merine. I should also add my appreciation to the Pasteur Gigi! who has led the Church all the way up to where it is now.

    Keep up the Great Work and God Bless you all.

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