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You say it’s Pi Day? Seems like it’s always Pie Day around here!

15 Mar

A few weeks ago, my husband Emile read an article about the Ashland Emergency Food Bank in the local paper.  The focus of the article was that the food bank was going to hold an open house/pie social to launch a capital campaign to purchase the facility where they are currently housed.  If they succeed in doing this, the food bank will attain a permanent home and thereby ensure its presence in our community for years to come.

After he read the article, Emile turned to me and said, “Don’t you think you should help with that?”  There he goes again… always thinking up good things for me to do!  But his suggestion intrigued me enough to call Pam Marsh, the director of the food bank and ask her about her plan for making pies for the social.  Pam’s response – “I haven’t gotten that far yet!” was something I could easily identify with.  I’m not big on planning which sometimes can be problematic.  However, most of the time things work out just fine.   Pam and I talked a bit over the next week or so and we arranged a day to meet at the First Presbyterian Church with as many people as we could gather together to bake pies!

Pie Baking for the Food Bank

The morning of the bake-fest I showed up early and brewed some coffee and waited hopefully.  Soon Pam arrived with loads of ingredients (including a case of apples) and for a few minutes it was just me and Pam.  Then, one by one, the ladies showed up.  They came carrying rolling pins and aprons and were ready to work.   It was absolutely wonderful!  In no time at all, we assembled 24 beautiful pies.  Most of the pies were apple, but there were a few berry pies in the mix as well.   I’d like to offer my deepest thanks to each of those ladies for putting their caring hearts and valuable time into this event.  The “Pie” volunteers are (listed alphabetically): Carol Baker (perfect name for the project, no?), Patty Chase, Barbara Hanson, Linda Lanzhammer, Barbara Marsh, Kathy Sager, and Leslie Sargent.

The Pie Social was held on Sunday, March 10.  It was  a beautiful day and many people showed up to show their support for the food bank,  to visit with like-minded individuals, and (drum roll please!) to enjoy a piece of pie!  It was a terrific event and I am so glad that Emile suggested that I get involved.  Because of his idea I met Pam… and got to work on a fun project with a great bunch of women.

Another team that I am proud to be a part of is the volunteer group that works at the Rotary Garden.  This is the fourth year that the Ashland Rotary Club has been growing vegetables for the food bank.  One of our Rotarians came up with the idea and from that flash of inspiration we have raised thousands of pounds of fresh produce that has benefited the needy people of Ashland.

Ann Marie and me at the Rotary Garden

Ann Marie Hutson and I worked yesterday at the garden sifting soil.

As great as that is, I have discovered a personal “perk” from volunteering my time for the garden.  I’ve found that by working side by side with my fellow Rotarians we have become better acquainted, and true friendships have developed.

Yesterday, on International “Pi Day”, I baked an Apple Blueberry pie for Mark Jaffe, the current coordinator of our garden project.  I want to thank him for taking the helm of this very rewarding and worthwhile endeavor.

apple blueberry pie

Apple Blueberry Pie

“Candy might be sweet, but it’s a traveling carnival blowing through town. Pie is home. People always come home.” ~ Pushing Daisies

 

Goodbye, Love, and Apple Pie

18 Feb

apple pie prep

Apple Pie beginnings

In my last post, I asked what was so  good about goodbye.  The story behind that post was that an old friend is moving away from the area to live closer to his children and how much our community will miss him.  I mentioned that I was lucky to have been given the chance to say goodbye, because sometimes that is not possible.

Shortly after that post was published, a dear friend wrote to say that she’d lost a relative quite suddenly.  Saying goodbye was not really an option given the circumstances and that made his passing even more difficult.

My friend shared that her son was going to visit the family of the man who’d passed and when I offered to make a pie for the family, she accepted graciously.   It was all I could do to help and I was grateful for the chance to assuage the pain that she is feeling.

apple pie prep2

Almost ready for the oven!

This is not to say that a pie will make much of a difference; but it is the love that was sent with the pie that might.   After all, it is the very best thing that we have to offer one another on this journey called life.  And it is the only thing that makes it worth living.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  I Corinthians 13

“Life is short and we do not have too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us; so be swift to love and make haste to be kind.” Henri-Frédéric Amiel

“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” 
Mother Teresa

Day 185: Paul Giancarlo

8 Oct

 

A few weeks ago, on this blog, I asked readers to recommend people to be pie recipients. One friend wrote back and suggested that I make a pie for Paul Giancarlo. It didn’t take long to think about this suggestion for who deserves a pie more than the person who has found a way to keep our local food pantry stocked?

For those of you who don’t live in Ashland, Paul is the co-founder of the Ashland Food Project. This is a plan whereby families opt to buy one extra food item per week and set it aside for the food bank. Every eight weeks, these items are picked up by a group of volunteers who then bring it to the food pantry.

The Ashland Food Project is about three years old. It had humble beginnings but has grown significantly in this short time. In fact, this message came via email tonight after today’s food collection:

Hello neighbors,

Another great day in Ashland. 19,000 pounds of food from AFP green bags were dropped off at the Ashland Emergency Food Bank today. Isn’t that remarkable!
Thanks for making this possible.

Isn’t that amazing???

In July, Paul received the eTown E-Chievement Award for his work with the Ashland Food Project. This NPR show was taped at the Britt Festival in Jacksonville and a large group of AFP volunteers were in the audience cheering for Paul. As much as I wanted to be in that audience, I was unable to attend the show because I was preparing to cater a weddding the following day. However, I did get to listen to the show when it aired on the radio and you can see his interview here.

Last night I just happened to be at a restaurant where Paul was celebrating his birthday and I was introduced to him. I thought it best to ask him what kind of pie he liked and told him that at some point I’d be bringing him a pie. And when I woke up this morning, I thought, why don’t I bring him a pie today?

This afternoon I delivered an Apple Blueberry Latice pie to Paul and his wife Mary. They welcomed me in and asked about my pie project. When I mentioned that it started as a crazy idea in the night, Paul could relate because the Food Project was just an idea to begin with as well. Just think of all the wonderful things that could happen if we all were willing to listen to the “crazy ideas” in our hearts?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has – Margaret Mead Poster

Day 12: Roxanne – a force of nature.

17 Apr

Today, the recipient of my pie is my friend and neighbor Roxanne.  We were co-presidents of the PTA  at Helman School a number of years ago.  She was the “voice” of the PTA – running the meetings, etc.  I was very happy for that – and willingly did what ever else needed to be done.   I would never have taken on the  role of president alone, and was very grateful to have someone who was”fearless” to work with.

You may have met Roxanne around town.  She is a true force of nature!   She teaches classes like kick boxing – with the energy and encouragement necessary to keep you going.   She can make you laugh – but also makes time to listen if you need to talk.  She is real in the best sense of the word and we are lucky to have her in our community.   Won’t she be surprised when she comes home tonight to be greeted by a warm apple pie?

This “pie a day giveaway” project began as a way to bring a bit of happiness into someone’s life.   So far, I think it is going well.   Everyone has been genuinely pleased to receive a pie.  In fact, most folks have been quite surprised.  How fun is that?   Amazing that I can have such impact with such a small effort.  What that tells me is that we don’t “go out-of-the-way” for each other as often as we might.   I hope that someone out there is inspired to follow my example and make something for someone who has made a difference in their lives.

On a completely different note, check out commedienne Jeanne Robertson.  In this video she talks about her husband, LB (left-brain).  It’s a hoot.

Thanks for visiting.

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