Sunday, October 5, 2008

A is for Apple Pie Service Project

A couple months ago I wrote about my most successful service project and listed the things I learned which can be applied to all service projects. They are:

1. Every youth needs a clear assignment

2. Every youth needs the tool that will make him effective in that assignment.

3. Every youth needs a supervisor who can guide, cheerlead, and, if necessary, give
additional tasks to keep youth meaningfully occupied.

My second most successful service project utilized these same principals, but took more planning and foresight. And it was a lot messier. But the kids loved it and felt they were making a difference. The project was making apple pies for a local homeless shelter’s Thanksgiving Dinner.

Today I’ll talk about advance planning and preparation. Number 2 in the series will be about making the crusts; Number 3 will be rolling crusts and other prep work; and Number 4 will be about pie filling, baking and delivery.

You will either need a budget for this, or you will need to have the kids donate flour, shortening, salt, sugar, spices and cornstarch. The amount of each you need will depend on how many pies you are making. More about that when I blog about crusts.

The first thing you have to do is find out if there is a need in your community for Thanksgiving or Christmas pies. (Another good time would be for Father’s Day gifts for all the fathers.) But, for holiday season, you need to find out: Is there a restaurant that does a free dinner? Is there a church who cooks a special dinner for the homeless or people on limited incomes? Would the local food bank appreciate an influx of apple pies? If the answer to any of these is yes, you have someone to approach. They may welcome you, or they may not. People who do these kinds of dinners often have old timers who supply them with pies from year to year, and they’re not willing to part company with someone who has served them for a long time just so your kids can have this one-time shot at being of service. I would say mid-summer is not too soon to begin asking.

Several months before your big pie-assembly night, ask several restaurants that serve pie to save their disposable pie pans for you. If you collect them regularly so they don’t become a storage problem for the restaurants, they’re usually glad to help.

You will also have to scope out who has apple trees where you can get free apples. Picking apples can be a nice class activity for one or two mutual classes. They can be stored in a cool place until time to assemble the pies, which, because you’re freezing your pies, can be any time after the apples are ready.

Poll the members of your ward to find out 1) who has freezer space that could store pies until they’re to be baked, 2) who would be willing and able to bake pies the day before or the holiday morning, and 3) who could help pick up and deliver pies.

Schedule a time to mix and roll out crusts. They can be done a month or two ahead, so you can be flexible on scheduling this. However, for this step, you are going to need people who know how to roll. I will e-teach you how to make the dough, but this night isn’t the time to introduce young women to a rolling pin. If you have three or four women rolling, you should be able to do crusts for fifty pies in a couple of hours.

On Part 2 and Part 3, I’ll blog about making the crusts. If you have questions, put them in the comment box.


Anonymous said...

I have a is it that you are so amazing? Thanks for all your great service ideas and, especially for this one about pies. You are the best and I love how everything you do has a service component to it! I'm posting a link to your bandage project on the Bee-line today!

Liz Adair said...

Thanks for publicizing the project, Cecily.