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Help make somebody’s Thanksgiving sweeter

If Thanksgiving baking is on your agenda this weekend, give this a read before you head out to buy your ingredients…you might want to add a batch to your to-do list.

Culpeper trial lawyer Monica Chernin is preparing for her third year of collecting donated pies to give away to the clients of Culpeper’s Food Closet. She is hoping to collect at least 650 pies this year.

If you’re interested in participating, check out the details here.

The project, called “Pies Culpeper,” started three years ago when Chernin saw an item in the Culpeper paper saying that the local food closet was short on funds and would only be able to provide turkeys to its clients for Thanksgiving.

“I love Thanksgiving, it’s my favorite holiday,” Chernin said. ” It bothered me that so many people were going to be without a real holiday dinner.”

At that time, the food closet had 600 clients.

“I figured I could easily find 150 people to join me in a project. I asked, in that first year, for each person to provide four pies and four side dishes,”she said. ” In the first year, we had a huge donation, by the truck load, of side dishes–canned and boxed–that we actually set up a satellite food closet and let the folks coming to get pies also get groceries.”

Since then, the project has changed a bit, and now collects canned peanuts and gently used DVDs to send to troops serving overseas, in addition to the pies.

This year’s pie collection days are Monday (Nov. 21) from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Tuesday (Nov. 22) from 8 a.m. until  11 a.m.

All pies are to be dropped at Chernin’s office, at 404 South Main St. in downtown Culpeper. The entrance is in the back of the building, across from the town municipal building.

The official request is for four pies per person, but more or fewer will be accepted.

Chernin asks that no pies that require refrigeration be donated. If frozen pies are donated, make sure they are cooked first, as many clients do not have ovens.

Last year, Chernin collected 700 pies, plus monetary donations used to buy extra pies. She is looking for at least 650 this year.

Distribution will begin from her office at noon on Tuesday.

In years past, people have lined up outside the office up to two hours ahead of time to collect their pie, so the earlier you can bring in a donation, the better. Any leftover pies will be donated to local churches hosting community dinners and other agencies.

Chernin said she’d love to see this project spread to other communities in the future.

She chose pies because they are a simple item that can bring warmth to a table, and something she herself loves.

“I love to bake and thought pies would be easy for most people…easy as pie, I guess!”

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