Volunteers from CSS baked 129 pumpkin pies and sold 87 of them for $870 on Community Day, Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the First United Methodist Coppertop Church kitchen. Only about 70 pies were sold last year.
Volunteers started at 9 a.m. Four student volunteers together with the organizer, Dr. LeAnn House, professor and chair of department of music from CSS, worked until 1:45 p.m. It took approximately another five hours to sell all 87 pies. No single person bought more than three pies.
The number of volunteers has ranged from five to eight in previous years. House said, "This year's volunteers were awesome! It was a relatively small group, but everyone worked really hard!"
The pumpkin pie baking event was started six years ago right after Dr. House volunteered at the CHUM Food Shelf and realized the problem with their extra pumpkin people donated around Thanksgiving, she said.
Most Food Shelf clients can't really use a can of pumpkin very easily. As a result, for the past six years, volunteers have taken a day every year to bake their excess cans of pumpkin into pies, which they either sell, or, if they bake more than they sell, give the pies to Food Shelf to distribute to its clients.
The money made by selling pumpkin pies was also given back to the Food Shelf to buy the kinds of food they really need, House said.
Only the pumpkin and milk cans are donated by people from the community, while the CHUM Food Shelf purchased the eggs with cash contributions, and Dr. House donated everything else such as flour, sugar and other seasonings.
The Duluth community was notified of this meaningful event by publication from the CSS College Communications Office. The office staff at FUMC has all worked on publicity, as well as Meg Kearns, food shelf coordinator, and Mary Schmitz, director of development from CHUM Food Shelf.
Kearns, who is in charge of the money made from pumpkin pie selling, uses the money to buy food and what homeless people need at wholesale prices.
"Giving (the homeless people) money instead of food is advantageous to both the donors and the Food Shelf," House said. "Because then the Food Shelf people don't have to sort various supplies which have to be moved, stored and stored. They can buy more food with the same amount of money, and they can buy the food they need--healthy food their clients want and can use."
CSS students who participated in the event found it fun and meaningful. Brianne Anshus, who has participated in Community Day volunteering activities every year, opened cans and mixed the pie fill in the morning. "It's a great opportunity to meet with people." Anshus said. "It's important to get involved."
Rachel Miller and Katie Mahocker believe baking pumpkin pies is "a fun idea to give back to the community."
"Baking and taking the pies out from the oven is scary," Miller said. Mahocker also enjoyed baking very much. She made the crusts for all the pies. Both of them want to participate in the Community Day again next year, though not necessarily at the same event.