You know Pie in the Sky is about more than just delivering fresh produce to the homes of hungry seniors. You know Pie addresses the issues of loneliness and lack of social connectedness and the adverse impact on a seniors health. And you know Pie is always looking for ways to help our seniors stay, healthy and happy and age in place. But did you know about the benefits of pet ownership for seniors and the challenges having a pet can create?
A recent poll found that companionship and social connection are positive side effects of pet ownership.
In fact, more than half of those who owned pets said they did so specifically to have a companion — and a slightly higher percentage said their pets sleep in bed with them. Sixty-five percent of pet owners said having a pet helps connect them to other people, too. Still, there is one negative and that is the difficulty some older adults face when it comes to feeding their pets. Animals provide companionship and a sense of purpose to seniors, and they are key factors in what makes a house feel more like home. Not being able to feed a pet can lead to the senior either losing independence or the animal. Just imagine if you had to choose between feeding your pet or yourself. It's not a choice any of us would like to think about. But our seniors do think about it. You know Pie in the Sky fills in the cracks and this is a big one and we need your help. We have a wishlist on Amazon. You can order it and have it delivered straight to the warehouse. Large bags will be divided into smaller bags to share with more seniors. Or you can shop in town and drop it by the warehouse or you can donate on our website and designate it for pet food. Either way, you can help us keep our seniors and their furry friends together and happy. The links and info are listed below. Thank you, in advance for helping us, help our seniors.
We are pleased to announce The Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund has made an investment in Pie in the Sky with a generous donation to help us grow and expand our services to low-income seniors in St. Johns County. This donation allowed to grow our physical space so that we can grow the number of seniors we serve each month. And you bet, the numbers are rising daily. With this donation, Mrs. Weaver has also issued a challenge grant. For every dollar donated from a new donor or a current donor who increases their gift, the grant will match those dollars, if we can raise $25,000 before May of 2023. That means if we can raise $25,000, the grant will double each one of those dollars.
Mrs. Weaver has entrusted us with this investment from her fund and challenged us, all of the folks who support our mission, to do our part to raise $25,000, which when matched, will purchase more than 57,000 pounds of fresh produce for the ever-growing number of seniors who need our help.
We are so grateful to Mrs. Weaver for her faith and commitment to the work we do. Let's show her, that as a community we are just as committed to fighting senior and being in the business of saying YES to every call for help that comes in.
Please make a donation today and if you are a current donor, please consider donating just a little more. Every dollar times two. We can do this.
This new campaign is designed so that everyone can give something and see the immediate results of their giving. For non-profits, recurring gifts are especially important. No matter the amount, monthly donations can make a lasting impact. Every dollar counts for nonprofits, and a guaranteed dollar a month is always a comfort for organizations like Pie in the Sky who run on the generosity of others. More than offering Pie a steady stream of income, smaller donations that occur throughout the year are generally more manageable for the average donor, and can make the same impact as a one-time larger gift.
Spreading out your donation may even allow you to contribute more than you originally thought. For example, spending $500 all at once might be too much for the monthly budget to handle, but if donating $50 every month is doable, you’ll actually donate $600 by the end of the year! Joining our recurring donor program gives you membership in our #wearePIE Special Counsel. More than just becoming a member of the Family of Pie, your monthly donation will provide lasting support for seniors in need.
As if that wasn't enough, the first five people who sign up to give $50 per month for one year, will receive a free PIE! Additionally, each month, every donor will be included in a random drawing for a free PIE. As a member of the #wearePIE Special Counsel, your name(if it's okay with you), will be listed on a special page on our website AND every three months your name will be included in a drawing for PIE Perks like t-shirts, stickers, pens and more. The last 18 months have been hard on us all but it has been especially hard on our seniors. COVID-19 has increased the need for food and social connectedness, now more than ever. It is so important that isolated, hungry seniors know there is always one thing they can count on: food and compassion delivered to their door by Pie volunteers.
We love our donors, each and every one of you and we wouldn't be where we are today without you. We are grateful for your support, your love and your commitment to our mission of fighting senior hunger in our community and we hope you will join us in this new initiative and add your name to our Family of Pie.
Gratefully, Malea Guiriba Executive Director, Pie in the Sky
Please click on the link below to read more about the story of Mrs. Crews and her granddaughters who collected pennies for Pie and to get started making sure your pennies count.
Our Mission Pie in the Sky Community Alliance of St. Johns County is a grassroots, volunteer-based organization providing hope by serving with dignity and respect to alleviate hunger and social isolation through the home delivery of fresh healthy produce to low-income seniors.
According to the most recent U.S. Census - 6,000 PLUS SENIORS ARE HUNGRY IN ST. JOHNS COUNTY.
This is what you need to know about Pie in the Sky’s Senior Program: We deliver to 465 seniors. We have 35 seniors on our waiting list. 15 of the seniors on the waiting list are between 80 and 98 years old. Many others face chronic health issues that could be helped by having healthy food to eat. Let that sink in - having healthy food to eat - in America - in St. Johns County - in our own backyard!
We are directly addressing this need in all the ways that make a critical difference, by delivering fresh produce and spending time with these seniors in St. Johns County. This has a direct impact on the health and well-being of the folks we deliver to. We need to do more.
It costs Pie in the Sky $304.00 per year, per senior to deliver fresh produce and donated food items twice each month.
That’s 83 cents per day. Less than the price of a cup of coffee.
The price of everything has gone up since the pandemic began and it continues to rise well into 2021. Still, we do our best to purchase the highest quality produce at the best prices and we work extra hard to make sure as much that each dollar donated is spent with care. Currently, 92 cents of every dollar that is donated to Pie goes directly to our program. Last year we purchased and delivered 37 tons of healthy food. We need your help to maintain 465 seniors and add 35 seniors on the waiting list that need fresh fruits and vegetables to survive. That’s 83 cents per day. We're all in this together, and one day, God willing, we will all be seniors. God willing, we won't have to worry about having enough food to eat. Every Dollar Counts.
Front row, left to right: Loretta McMaster, Melissa Strohminger, Teresa Fischer Back row: Teri Bachus, Betsy Freeman
Our Founder and Executive Director
Malea Guiriba has become a folk hero – an example of what one person can do to change the world: one house, one person, and one day at a time. She’s had careers in real estate and journalism, but it is her activism that has touched hearts and changed lives. Malea has been a passionate worker in the civil rights and domestic violence movements, always embracing the disenfranchised and poor. While working with the domestic violence shelter in St. Augustine, she took a post as Rural Services Coordinator in the small farming town of Hastings. She built her program from scratch by embedding herself in a community, which was long ago divided by race, class, and economics. Malea was inspired by two middle aged African-American men who had essentially been enslaved as farm workers for most of their life. Their experiences awakened her to a need she never imagined existed: helping the historically underprivileged Hastings farm workers. She and others were shocked that one of Florida’s richest counties could be the site of such inhumane treatment. It became her mission to provide basic needs to families including healthcare, as well as safe and affordable housing. The program became a focal point of the community, but suddenly was without the grant funding that kept it going. Malea was suddenly unemployed, yet determined to continue the work she had begun. Her answer was to open Pie in the Sky, a pie shop symbolizing what someone called her “pie in the sky” ideas about how to help people. Two months after she cleaned out her office, she served her first pie – a real achievement, considering she’d never baked a pie in her life. She’s since sold more than thousands of pies in just under two years. She’s helped by delivering furniture to a family that lost its home to fire, buying dentures for a man to build his confidence while he focused on finding a new job, riding in the potato fields to take a man to his doctor’s appointment, building wheelchair ramps, running a food bank and taking food to homebound low-income senior citizens and much more. The work Malea has accomplished, continues to inspire others and to grant the gift of giving to the volunteer workforce. Her mantra is, “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” Whether she is selling pies, delivering food as a mobile pantry, or wielding a power saw to help build a ramp, Malea sets the example for those around her and spreads her goodwill, her can do attitude, and passion for helping wherever she goes.
Board President Loretta McMaster
As a Registered Nurse I learned the value of good assessments, listening, seeing and caring for individuals with respect for their needs, their stories and their circumstances. Through additional training I have enhanced my skills to help and serve others—meeting and caring for them “where they are” in their lives. I trained and worked a crisis hotline in Chicago; trained and served as a Stephen Leader and Stephen Minister for 22 years; trained and volunteered as a Domestic Violence Counselor; and served as coordinator for a Caregiving Ministry in Mi My training and experience also prepared me to start the Parish Nurse Program at my church in Ct. As Parish Nurse I was teacher, facilitator, advocate and made referrals for members of my congregation and community. Coming to Florida I volunteered as a pregnancy counselor before turning energies to helping the farmhands and people in need through my work for Pie in the Sky (PIE). I was introduced to PIE through my church. What greater cause than the mission of “bringing HOPE to those thinking they have been forgotten”. My participation at the weekly food pantry helped me better appreciate the needs of the farmhands and those in poverty. Although the food pantry had to shut down, Malea (Director of PIE) did not give up. Her passion for helping those in Hastings and surrounding area is infectious! As PIE evolved to the programs today, I have gone the path. Seeing the smiles and anticipation of those waiting for their delivery of fresh produce and listening how their lives and health are better is rewarding and enriches my life. Working with the people PIE continues to help is truly God’s call.
Vice-President Betsy Freeman
What do you like to do in your spare time? Traveling and camping, volunteering in my community-- helping where and when I can with social justice projects and education, spending time with family and grabbing any opportunity I find, to be out on the water
What inspires you? People. For all that is heartwrenching, conflicting and sometimes tragic..... when you take moments to speak with those around you, to listen, to feel, people will always show you true inspiration, resilience, motivation and ultimately love
Why are you in nonprofit work? It sometimes fills a need to be hands on; making a difference. Making connections and not only seeing progress but feeling it as it unfolds. What emotional reasons? Instant gratification or seeking it, seems to be the new norm... but planting seeds to be harvested even long after I'm gone, helping to cultivate and grow what others have already planted and continuing to nurture it for next person and the next--- triggers a variety of emotions such as love, acceptance, a fulfillment of hope
Who is a hero of yours? Every day people, my family, my wife
What’s something quirky about you? Hhmm.. come back to this one
Why Pie in the Sky? It's not just an organization, in my mind and heart I know it's a movement. A grassroots movement not only helping locally and daily but spreading awareness and hope beyond just our community..... every time someone hears of Pie, reads an article, sees a video or picture, donates-- we've spread not only our mission but shown others what's needed and what's possible.
Teri Bachus- Secretary
In my spare time, I like to spend time with my family, kitties and friends and I enjoy playing piano, cooking, traveling, walking on the beach.
I am inspired by everyday people who rise above their own struggles to lift others.
I am involved in non-profit work because I enjoy being of service to society. It gives me a sense of purpose to work with others who believe in the mission of our organization and who are passionate about making a difference in the world and in our community.
All farmworkers who labor in the fields to put food on our tables are my heroes.
A quirky thing about me is that I am a spelling fanatic.
Pie in the Sky highlights a cause I care deeply about. I believe in its mission. I enjoy connecting and interacting with our inspiring Director and our dedicated team of volunteers as well as the seniors we serve.
After graduating from Boston University with a degree in Elementary Education, I worked as Teacher and Director of Headstart Preschools throughout western Washington, serving children of migrant and seasonal farmworker families. Later served as VISTA volunteer and fundraiser for the Whatcom Literacy Council in Washington State.
Melissa Strohminger Treasurer
In my spare time, I like to be outdoors and spending time with my grandchildren. I am inspired by the many young people that I meet who are doing so much good work to make our community and world a better place. I am in nonprofit work because of the giving culture and the nature of the work. People in this field are here to make a difference, not make a fortune. Some of my heroes are the people I work with everyday, doing their thing, following their hearts, not making a big deal about it. One quirky thing about me is that I refuse to use a smart phone or any other "smart" technology. Pie in the Sky is such a basic concept - feed people, help people, it's so organic and simple. And Malea has managed to continue the mission of Pie no matter what resources are available or not. My background is in community service. I have lived and worked in St. Johns County for nearly 30 years, always working with children and families in some capacity, and now doing administrative work to support the missions of those organizations.
Teresa Fischer Board Member
What do you like to do in your spare time? Travel, going to the movies, camping, bike riding, taking trail hikes, working in the yard, spending time with friends.
What inspires you? God and seeing others give unselfishly of themselves.
Why are you in nonprofit work? What emotional reasons? To help others, to give back a little, involvement is something worthwhile.
Who is a hero of yours? My husband Steven who has passed away, he could talk to anyone, he loved helping others and could relate to the old and the young, something I always admired about him; and my niece Malea, she gives so unselfishly of herself.
What’s something quirky about you? I still think I am 20 in my head.
Why Pie in the Sky? Honestly, because my niece is involved and asked me to help, I saw the need in the community. I already do some volunteer work for Ronald McDonald House and although I don't deal with the children directly, there is a lot that needs to be done on the sidelines. Same is true with Pie in the Sky.
Background and professional history. I am a Jacksonville native, in the mortgage profession most of my life from Origination to processing and closings. I am now semi retired, work part time still in mortgage work. I was very involved in a community service organization, the Jacksonville Junior Chamber of Commerce for many years and was President back in 1990-91. Seems like a life time ago. I know what effort and commitment it takes to put together an organization that continually helps others as I have done it myself through the Jaycees. I am a Christian, a cancer survivor and a widow. I still count my blessings every day and hope that in some small way I can help others less fortunate.