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January 25, 2021
 
Community Servings Beats Its ‘Pie in the Sky’ Goal by 25%
Community Servings 2016

December 1, 2020 — Figuring that its annual Pie in the Sky campaign would be negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Community Servings, a Jamaica Plain-based nonprofit that delivers meals tor the critically ill in their homes across the state, scaled back its goal, but still ended up beating it by 25%.

Community Servings yesterday announced it raised $625,000 for the Thanksgiving-related fundraiser, surpassing its $500,000 goal, to support its ongoing work. Last year, the 27th time the event had been held, raised a record $875,000.

Community Servings and its baking partner, Boston Baking Inc., a family-run bakery in Hyde Park, this year baked about 6,000 apple and pecan pies for the fundraiser. Each $30 pie purchase or donation covers a week’s worth of healthy meals for a Community Servings client living with an illness such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, heart disease, or diabetes.

In addition, Whole Foods stepped up to sell specially baked apple and pumpkin “Pie in the Sky” pies in its Massachusetts stores from Nov. 18 to Thanksgiving, donating $5 from each sale to the campaign.

More than 7,000 people across Massachusetts purchased pies or made a “Pie for a Client” donation this year, the organization reported.

“Despite many obstacles, our community came together for Pie in the Sky and helped us exceed our fundraising goal and continue providing the life-saving meals many in our community so desperately need,” noted CEO David B. Waters. “From Salisbury to Scituate and Boston to the Berkshires, support for Community Servings’ mission was strong this season.”

Pie in the Sky typically enlists more than 150 Greater Boston restaurants and bakeries that work overtime to produce 25,000 apple, pecan, pumpkin, and sweet potato pies for Thanksgiving. But due to the pandemic’s painful impact on the restaurant industry, Community Servings said this year it chose to streamline the baking and boxing process to give its food service partners a reprieve.

Community Servings also scrapped its massive pie distribution operation—Pie Central—usually held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, in favor of a streamlined and touchless distribution plan for health and safety reasons.

Normally, more than 500 volunteers bake, build pie boxes, label, and sort pies. This year, boxed and sealed pies went directly from the kitchen to 20 regional outdoor pick-up sites staffed by four or five volunteers who oversaw distribution while adhering to strict social distancing guidelines. Pie pick-up day was Tuesday, Nov. 24.

In addition to this year’s new sponsors, Whole Foods Market and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., the fundraiser was supported by longtime sponsors, including Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage CARES Foundation, Digitas, and ScrubaDub Auto Wash Centers.

The need for the pies, and the ongoing work of Community Servings grew this year, as care providers have referred greater numbers of at-risk, immuno-compromised patients to Community Servings every week.

The need is expected to grow. Waters said over the next year, he projects Community Servings will prepare and deliver 800,000 meals, 40% more than in 2019.

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