Humble Pie

Making pies to fund various missions is this baker's delicious way of giving back

Humble Pie

Betty Swain

Twice a year, the kitchen at Richardson Park United Methodist Church in Wilmington, Delaware, is filled with the enticing aromas of simmering soup and baking pies. And when there are pies in the oven, it's probably Betty Swain who put them there.

Since 1998, Betty and a group of 15 to 20 volunteers have gathered each spring and fall to make food for their fund-raising soup and pie sales. The sale offers whole pies and quarts of soup, which are popular for holidays and stocking freezers. At the last sale, they made 130 pies and raised more than $3,000.

The funds go to several missions in the Wilmington area. Some provide food, shelter and clothing for the needy. Others provide after-school care, tax preparation, and classes in English and nutrition.

"I can't begin to describe the satisfaction it gives me, knowing I have provided quality products that bring joy to many and raise money to help others who are struggling to provide the basic necessities of life," says Betty. "Word of our soup and pie sales has spread far beyond our church."

Betty makes all the pastry dough, paying for the ingredients out of her own pocket. She uses the same ball-bearing rolling pin she received as a newlywed 54 years ago to roll out her homemade pie crust.

That's not all she does. Betty and her husband, Marvin, freeze veggies from their huge garden to make soup for the sale as well.

"I love the fellowship on pie-baking days when parishioners of all ages, up to 92 years old, get together in the church kitchen to peel bushels of apples, mix fillings and man the ovens," Betty says. "I'm so glad to support these missions of people helping people."