What does it take to create 300 apple pies in a day? About 45 volunteers, 600 pounds of apples, hot coffee and careful planning.
A team of volunteers worked madly at Holy Trinity Church Saturday to prepare 300 Granny Smith apple pies. The pies are part of a charity fundraiser for The Glory Hole and Holy Trinity.
Mary Alice McKeen explained the operation. Outside the small kitchen at the church, a group of six worked at cutting up apples, chopping at the last few of their 600 pounds at 3 p.m. They’d been at it since 7:30 in the morning.
Inside, 10 people worked at several different stations in a carefully coordinated operation. Five rolled pie crusts while another man worked making dough with a loaned mixer, courtesy of Rainbow Foods.
Father Gordon Blue and McKeen made the pie filling, a butter, sugar and apple mix. The pie rollers would make two crusts at a time, a top and a bottom. They’d then put a bottom in a disposable aluminum pie container and hand it to Blue. McKeen and Blue would dump two pounds of filling in and lay the remaining crust over top.
“Every pie is blessed,” Blue joked. “This is the pie’ous end of the line.”
The whole assembly line would end up at the crimper, who would add a finishing touch to the pies. The crimper carried the pies to a packaging table, where a volunteer would package the pie in a bag with a small piece of paper printed with cooking instructions. A young “runner” named Addy Lanz would neatly stash the pies on a stage in the back of the room. She kept track of the number of pies out loud, calling out “186,” in this case.
“It’s quite an operation,” Jennifer Lanz, Addy’s mother and another volunteer, said.
The Holy Trinity Church runs their annual “pie-a-thon” to raise money for both the church and The Glory Hole shelter and soup kitchen. They start selling the pies a month ahead of time. Customers can buy a pie for themselves to cook at Thanksgiving or freeze (they’re good up to a year, organizers said). They can also buy a pie to donate to The Glory Hole.
Lanz, a board member at The Glory Hole, said they sell about half of the pies to individuals, while customers buy the other half for donation to The Glory Hole. Those pies get included in turkey boxes, a free Thanksgiving dinner from The Glory Hole that the church helps distribute to those in need. A turkey box includes everything needed for a Thanksgiving dinner: mash potatoes, stuffing, a turkey, corn, green beans, cranberry fruit cocktail, rolls, butter and a pie. Some leftover pies get used at The Glory Hole dinners.
Families and individuals sign up in advance to receive a turkey box. Holy Trinity will prepare about 100 boxes this year. St. Vincent de Paul’s also runs a similar Thanksgiving meal operation.
“I think it’s safe to say that between the two organizations, Juneau has generously provided hundreds of Thanksgiving meals,” Lanz said.
Holy Trinity and The Glory Hole can still use volunteers and donations for their turkey boxes and Thanksgiving dinners, Lanz said. Items currently needed, as of Saturday, are fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, cleaning supplies, milk, cheese, butter, eggs, oatmeal, socks, clean new underwear, camping gear in good condition, raingear, tarps and cash donations. Those who would like a turkey box or would like to volunteer or donate can call The Glory Hole at 586-4159.