In the beginning.... there was a little pie shop on Main Street.
Pie in the Sky Community Alliance, INC., will host their annual Peace in the Park event on International Day of Peace, Saturday, September 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Eddie Vickers Park, 399 Riberia Street, St. Augustine.
This event is free and open to the public. There will be music by The Peaceniks, yoga for kids, origami activities, and peace poles during the event. Human Peace Sign forming will begin at 11:00 a.m. Participants are encouraged to bring jars of peanut butter, which will be used to form a Pyramid of Peace and later distributed to seniors in need.
International Day of Peace is a day to reflect on how we can build a culture of peace. Pie in the Sky is encouraging the community to come together and be inspired by what one person can do, and what many can do together, when dedicated to peace. “Nine years ago, we held the first human peace sign in the rural farming town of Hastings,” explained Malea Guiriba, founder and executive director of Pie in the Sky. “It was a new concept; we had had no idea how it would turn out. We thought this would be the perfect time to bring this event to St. Augustine to help celebrate our 10th anniversary and to cultivate an atmosphere of peace and understanding.”
Over the last 10 years, Pie in the Sky has helped thousands of people throughout St. Johns County. The organization’s Senior Produce Program delivers fresh, healthy produce to low-income, food-insecure senior citizens throughout the community. “Forming a human peace sign,” Guiriba said, is a way to bring awareness to our mission of fighting senior hunger in St. Johns County, where more than 6,000 seniors go to bed hungry.” Quoting Dorothy Day, Guiriba said, “we believe Peace begins when the hungry are fed.”
The event you all know and love is making a comeback this year. We all felt the pains of 2020, especially the vulnerable seniors that we serve so we decided to bust out our classic event for its ten year celebration. Join as we celebrate spring and raise money for our senior neighbors in need. This year, the event will be held on line where you can bid on fabulous artist created birdhouses and buy a Pie and A Plant. But for those of you who like to see things in person, we've got you covered. The auction will culminate on May 1, 2021 with a special event viewing, where final bids can be made. And just to keep things familiar and fun, our friends, Lonesome Bert and the Skinny Lizards will be on hand to provide some highly anticipated tunes. Oh how we have missed those guys!
The birdhouses, artfully created by many of our talented local artists will be on the bidding site beginning April 17. You can view and bid up until 11:59 p.m. April 30, 2021. You can pick-up your birdhouse on Saturday May 1, 2021 from 11-3 at our special homage to ten years of For the Birds events. The location may be different but there will be lots of familiar faces including, Lonesome Bert and The Skinny Lizards, The Skinny, Steveo and Sue, silent auction items, including fabulous baskets by Phyllis and some other surprises as well. We're calling it For the Birds Party and Pick-up. Bring your lawn chair and sit a spell and listen to some great music and visit with some old friends.
And, there's more! You can order a Pie and a Posie, available for one day only and in a limited number. Our friends at Southern Horticulture are generously donating a beautiful flowering spring plant to go along with your pie purchase.
Using the link below, you can order your pie and plant for pick-up on the day of the event, May 1, from 11-3 at our warehouse, 134 Riberia St. Unit 4, St. Augustine. Don't want to get out of your car? No problem. Curbside service will be available for Pie and Posie pick-up.
Of course, for our safety and yours, masks will be required on the day of the event and social distancing policies will be in effect. We don't want any of us to get sick and most especially we don't want to spread the virus to our seniors.
Thank you for your support. Bid early. Bid often. Help us help our seniors in need.
Note: photos of plants may not be the actual plant as assortment will vary depending on what is blooming at the time.
Local artists have outdone themselves this year, creating 75 magical one-of-a-kind birdhouses. So many birdhouses to bid on and with each bid you are helping to bring much needed fresh produce to the homes of our senior neighbors in need. Please bid early and bid often.
There is no fooling around today... It's PIE Day. Order your Pie and Posie on the link below to get in the Spring Pie Sale. We have all of your favorites, Blueberry, Peach, Apple and Coconut Cream, but there's a new Pie in town. The Chocolate deliciousness Killarney Fudge Pie. Order now while supplies last. Just like the Cadbury Egg, when they're gone, they're gone. Thank you to our bakers, Michelle DuFresne, Sharon Arnold, Roneela Shahzad, Teresa Fischer and Malea Guiriba. A special thank you to our friends at Southern Horticulture for donating the posies for this event. 100 percent of the price goes to our Senior Produce Program. $50 will purchase more than 100 pounds of fresh, healthy produce.
Although this year has been difficult to navigate, our seniors have shown resilience and have continued to thrive, thanks to supporters like you. We are excited about the positive support from our community and are grateful for the new partnerships and opportunities that have emerged. However, after another year where isolation and fear touched so many, the human connection is more important than ever. Reaching out is essential and we at Pie in the Sky do that through personal home delivery of fresh healthy fruits and veggies to 467 hungry seniors across the county. There are many stories from throughout the year but one sticks out a little more than the others and truly speaks to the year we have had. It is about tomatoes. Since we first began our foray into the world of food, everything always comes back to the humble, beloved tomato. Back in the old days of our food pantry, folks who were waiting in line were always asking about the tomatoes, not the steak or the chicken or the cheese, just the tomato. When we had our farm truck, people came from miles around to purchase the gorgeous bright red, firm, yet juicy Ruskin tomato. Once a woman was holding up such a beauty and she said to me seven words I will never forget, “It’s hard to meet a good tomato.” As we began our Senior Produce Program it quickly became evident that the legend of the tomato lived on as the seniors we delivered to share with us daily, their love of the tomatoes. Two of the staple items that our produce bags are never without are bananas and tomatoes. One day, a few months ago, Phyllis, our program manager received a call from a woman who lives in a four-story senior apartment building. She was breathless and her words were frantic as Phyllis tried to get her to calm down and it finally became clear what she was calling about. “Phyllis,” she said, “I was at the doctor today when my produce was delivered and they hung it on my door as usual but when I got inside and emptied it out, there were no tomatoes. Did we get tomatoes this week?” Phyllis told her that of course tomatoes were in her bag, they are always in every bag, right on the top to maintain their freshness and non-squish ability. “Someone has stolen the tomatoes out of my bag,” she declared to Phyllis. “You know the tomatoes are like gold,” she exclaimed. And just like that, this story became known as “The Grand Theft Tomato Tale.” Naturally, Phyllis rushed right over and replaced the allegedly purloined pomme d'amour (French) and the senior, though still aghast at how anyone could illegally obtain her precious “gold” sighed with contentment upon seeing that Phyllis had brought her three extra tomatoes to ease her sorrow.
I know it may sound silly, to be so upset about a tomato, but in a year of uncertainty and chaos that has disrupted the lives of us all, for our seniors, knowing that we will be knocking on their door, twice a month with a smile, a kind word, a bag of fresh produce and yes, a couple of tomatoes, is the one thing they can count on. Because of your generosity Pie in the Sky can be the face of dependability in a time of turmoil and change. This brings us back to the tomato, which is packed with loads of nutrition, is a senior favorite and a hallmark of our program, and are indeed, like gold. The price of a case of tomatoes has risen nearly 94 percent in the last year from $23.95 to $46.58. Sadly, tomatoes are not the only product that has gone up. Our weekly produce bill rose to an all-time high just this week even though we purchased fewer items than our usual 10-12, our bill was still more than $1400. Prices continue to climb and we see no end in sight in 2022. We are asking you to donate what you can to support our unwavering commitment to serve the vulnerable food insecure seniors throughout St. Johns County. Your donation, whatever the amount, supports our fight against senior hunger and every amount helps us continue to reach and uplift more seniors in need, transforming lives one at a time.
None of what we do would be possible without you, our supporters and we are so very grateful for all that you do.
This isn’t the story I planned to write. Well, the beginning is, but the ending has changed. A while back I sent out an email asking our volunteers for stories about what Pie in the Sky meant to them. The first story I received was from a young woman, Christine Goehring, who volunteered with her dad, Stephen and her three small children. She wrote, “When my dad and I joined the Pie in the Sky delivery team 2 years ago, we never could have imagined the difference it would make in our lives. It’s important to me that my kids serve others in need, so I have been blessed to have my 2-year-old alongside us for our deliveries as well as my 6-year-old and 8-year-old in the summers. For many of the seniors we serve, they have very little interaction with others during the week- especially with young kids. And let me tell you, they absolutely LOVE seeing the kids each week. It puts a huge smile on their face when they open their door. My family has developed some amazing friendships with the seniors on our route and it’s been such a gift to not only bring them healthy food to nourish their bodies, but also bring them love and joy to nourish their souls.” Christine’s beautiful description captured the truest essence of all that Pie is, a family coming together to serve, children learning the gift of giving, and seniors being touched by the lives of three generations coming to their homes, filled with armloads of food and an unending supply of love and smiles and hugs. Most of all, Christine and her family gave hope, an important part of Pie, to all the seniors they served, showing them by their actions, that compassion runs throughout our community and through the Manning family, is being practiced in a way that will create another generation of givers. This family embodied the foundation and the spirit upon which Pie in the Sky was built. Stephen was also well-known and highly valued around the Pie warehouse. Program manager, Phyllis Wood would often brag about him, saying that he would notice things around the warehouse that might need attention and suddenly the issues were resolved. “We bought a deep sink for the bathroom,” Phyllis said, “Stephen kept seeing it sitting in the bathroom, unattached and one day he asked me if that is where the sink was going to stay. We laughed about it and the next thing I knew, he was there with his tools, installing the sink.” Then there was the issue of freezer space. He asked Phyllis one day what she needed around the warehouse, and she jokingly said, “more freezer space.” The next thing you know, there was a new freezer, courtesy of Stephen and Christine. Christine and her family moved to St. Augustine a few years ago from San Antonio, Texas where they volunteered for Meals on Wheels. They were looking for something similar not long after they arrived. Giving back to their community is a part of who they are, Christine told me. They found Pie on Facebook and were given a route in a low-income apartment building where they began spreading joy to neighbors in need. What a delight it was for a senior to answer their door after hearing the tiny knock of a three-year-old. One of the seniors they deliver to is Terry Arnold who said, “They remind me so much of my family when my children were young. It warms my heart so much to see a family that works together for the benefit of others." Mrs. Arnold said it is especially meaningful to see three generations giving back to their community. “They are all so precious. I just think they are a lovely family and, in a world today that doesn’t generally focus on families, it is heartwarming to know they exist. Young people today need to see the values that are modeled by this family.” Christine, her dad and her three children, are indeed a family that should serve as a model for all. Putting compassion into action and sharing their giving hearts with others in their community. We are so honored to have them as a part of our Family of Pie. And this my friends, is where the story would have ended a few weeks ago. A glowing tribute to a father and a grandfather who inspired his daughter and grandchildren and everyone he met, showing by example how important it is to give back. I am saddened to say, the story I write today has a much different ending. Stephen Manning became ill back in July and was hospitalized. Sadly, he passed away on August 18 and everyone who had the honor of knowing him, are devasted, most especially his family. Christine told me, through tears, that the last full day she spent with her dad was July 8, her birthday. “We spent the day doing what we love, visiting our seniors,” she said. “It means so much to me that we spent that time together and it is a memory I will always cherish.” She said volunteering with Pie was the biggest part of his life and, “a huge, huge blessing to them all. “We are so grateful that we found this wonderful organization,” she said. Christine and her dad began volunteering in 2019. Stephen would come in on Wednesday to help unload the truck and then he and Christine and her children would spend their Thursday’s delivering their route. “Volunteering at Pie in the Sky not only gave us a chance to give back to the community, but it also gave us a chance to create memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. My dad loved all the people he met through Pie in the Sky and knowing these wonderful people gave him a sense of belonging and purpose during his retirement years,” Christine said. As Mrs. Arnold said, “this is a model family”, showing, by doing and even now, with Stephen gone, they are still thinking about giving back to their community. From Christine, “My heart aches knowing that he won’t be with me physically as I continue our delivery route, but it brings me peace, joy, and comfort knowing that I can continue to do that in memory of him. Many people have asked me what they can do for our family during this difficult time and the thing that keeps coming to mind is supporting the organization that he loved so much. I will never be able to put into words what my dad’s time at Pie in the Sky meant to him and to my whole family, but I know he would be so grateful to know that we are continuing to bring food to the seniors in our community who are in need. I would encourage you to come along side my family and donate to Pie in the Sky in memory of my dad.” I can think of nothing else to add to this poignant story except to say that our lives have all been made richer having known Stephen and his family and we are honored and so grateful that he chose the Pie community as his own. To all the Manning family, we send our heartfelt prayers for healing and our gratitude for sharing Stephen with all of us at Pie in the Sky. The world is indeed a better place, having been touched by the life lessons Stephen so generously shared with everyone he met.
With love and respect, Malea Guiriba and all the Family of Pie.
In Loving Memory of Stephen Manning, a cherished member of the Family of Pie
Back in the beginning, we were just a little pie shop on Main Street in Hastings, trying to bring our little bit of good to folks that needed it the most. Today, while much has changed, so much has remained the same. We still sell pies to bring about good, we still help people who fall through the cracks and we still do all that we can with the help of generous donors and volunteers who believe in what in our cause. The change is in our mission statement. As we have grown over the past 12 years we have narrowed our focus to one area that we feel needs our commitment the most and that is hungry senior citizens throughout all of St. Johns County. Caring for our seniors is perhaps the greatest responsibility we have. Those who walked before us have given so much and made possible the life we all enjoy today. As such, our new mission statement reflects the quote by Tia Walker, " To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors." Join us in our mission of caring for our senior neighbors in need. Help us, help them.
“I had an inheritance from my father, It was the moon and the sun. And though I roam all over the world, The spending of it’s never done.” - Ernest Hemingway, author No matter what kind of legacy your parents gave, it’s with you forever. It has a lot of power to shape you in positive ways.
Special thanks go to Southern Horticulture The Skinny Lonesome Bert and the Skinny Lizards Steve Marrazzo Sharon Arnold Roneela Shahzad Phyllis Wood Rosalie Cocci All of the fabulous local artists who donated their time and talent to create beautiful one-of-a-kind birdhouses All of the super great volunteers who worked so hard to create such a beautiful space And to all of you, who purchased birdhouses and pies and came out to support our event, as you always do. Thank you for helping us fight SENIOR HUNGER in St. Johns County.
Many thanks to our friends at United Way St Johns for helping us get fresh food to our seniors.
Thank you to our very special friends at Christ Episcopal Church, Serenata for their continued support throughout the years. Generous with their money and their time, they add so much to all that is Pie in the Sky. We are honored to have them as members in the Family of Pie.
We would like to give a SUPER BIG shout-out to all of the local businesses that donated items for the Rotary Raffle. The event was a huge success and we couldn't have done it without you. Thank you.
We're working hard to make Thanksgiving and Christmas a special time for the 435 seniors we serve. If you can help, a little or a lot, it would mean so much to all of us a Pie in the Sky and most especially to our seniors. Thank you for your support. Click on the First Coast News link to check out our story. Check out our story on First Coast News
Help make the holidays special
Like everyone else, we have had to adapt to a new world during this pandemic. But hunger doesn't stop and neither does the need for funding to bring food those in need. Pie supporter, Angie Fay Ullman came up with a brilliant idea and reached out to many of her friends, including Laura O'Neal, owner of ArtBox Gallery and together they put on a quite a show, highlighting peace and raising much needed funds for our Senior Produce Program. Check out this story to learn more and bid on one of these fabulous creations.
This year has been a year unequaled in modern history. The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed everything in our world and the losses have been devastating. As 2020 finally comes to a close, there is hope on the horizon and we must all cling to that glimmer of hope and hang on, with all that we have. It has never been more important for us to protect and support each other, especially those most vulnerable in our community: low-income, hungry senior citizens in our community. This special event is celebrating the power of Pie, which has served the disenfranchised, unseen and underserved folks in St. Johns County for the past eleven years. Pie and Peace(and Poinsettias) is an opportunity for you to utilize the power of pie to help us continue our work. Pre-order a pie, pecan, chocolate chunk pecan or apple and a poinsettia for $50 and pick them up at ArtBox on December 11. You can do a drive-by pick-up or you can come inside(social distancing will be in effect) and have a look at the fabulous peace poles and peace doves created by local artists. You can bid online and if you win, you can pick up your peace art along with your pie and Poinsettia. All proceeds will help Pie in the Sky Community Alliance deliver fresh produce to the homes of 435 low-income hungry senior citizens throughout St. Johns County. Celebrate the season with local folks doing good locally, in your neighborhood, in your community, in your own backyard. You can order your Pie and Poinsettia by clicking the button below.
We had a fabulous holiday season thanks to all of our wonderful and generous donors and volunteers. Our seniors were gifted with all sorts of wonderful gifts including handmade soaps and scarves, gift cards, coloring and puzzle books and loads of other special goodies donated by folks from all over the state and beyond. Program Manager, Phyllis had so many calls from our recipients saying how surprised and delighted they were to receive the special gifts. Volunteers also shared stories of their holidays visits that were filled with tears of joy and gratitude and lots and lots of hugs. We say it a lot, but we can't say it enough: Thank you to each and every one of you who helped to make 2019 a special year for us all. We really couldn't do it without you.
Warmest regards, Malea
We are happy to report that as of the week of July 8, 2020, Pie in the Sky will resume our regular routes, delivering fresh, healthy food to the homes of 440 in need seniors throughout our community. Granted, we have not been resting on our laurels these past couple of months. We have delivered beautiful homestyle, freshly prepared meals from some of the finest restaurants in town, including GAS Full Service Restaurant, Purple Olive, Fried Chicken Kitchen and Michaels Tasting Room. Thanks to a generous community, we were able to Pie it Forward and purchase these meals from our local businesses to help them during these trying times, while also delivering good food to all of our folks. Thank you to everyone who helped make this special event possible. The seniors were thrilled to enjoy a great hot meal and we had tons of calls expressing gratitude for everyone involved.
Dear Friends, Pie in the Sky is a program dedicated to serving the most vulnerable in our community, our senior neighbors in need. The health and safety of our seniors and our volunteers have always been our top priority. As concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to grow, we will continue to monitor this situation closely in the days and weeks to come, and we will stay up-to-date with all Center for Disease Control (CDC), National Institute Health (NIH), and World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, so as to keep our seniors and our Pie In the Sky community safe. Upon hearing Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD, NIAID, director of NIH, as he testified before a congressional committee yesterday, we realized the importance of his message on social distancing (reducing contact between people carrying the infection to others who are not infected). It was made clear that the ripple effect of our actions has a direct impact on the lives of everyone around us, and that we all have a responsibility in this crisis. We recognize the importance of our services, but during this time of concern we also are aware of our role in being responsible citizens of our community, not only for our seniors, but for our volunteers. After much thought and consideration, we have decided to take an active role in trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by temporarily suspending our senior produce operations for the remainder of March. We are notifying our senior clients of our decision, and thanks in part to our dedicated Family of Pie, we do have a plan in place to accommodate those seniors that may need special assistance. At the beginning of April, we will reevaluate. Our warehouse will be closed through the end of March, so we cannot accept donations of food. However, money is what we really need at this time. It will assist us in helping those seniors who may need special assistance. Please use the donate button below. Thank you for your continued trust and support of Pie in the Sky. We look forward to resuming our program as soon as it is safely possible. Please stay safe, stay informed, and know that we are all in this together, and together, as a community, we will get through it. Keeping you all close, Malea
On May 4, Pie in the Sky rolled out its response to the Covid-19 crisis. We partnered with locally owned restaurant, Gas Full Service to purchase 215 homestyle meals, which were delivered to our seniors along with a big bag of goodies from Hunger Fight and KeHE Distributors. Our goal was to help our locally owned restaurants who have helped us so much over the years and to ease back in to safe deliveries to our seniors in need.
Join us for a way-cool event, a Facebook Live Auction with renowned auctioneer Leonard Freeman and special guest, Christina (Vanna) Guiriba. We will be auctioning off the following GREAT baskets, perfect for gifts for loved ones or for yourself. They are overflowing with exotic goodies brought together in themed baskets lovingly created by the famous team of Rosalie of Phyllis. Please register to bid by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org any time between now and the event or sign up below. Bid on a basket-and help us FIGHT SENIOR HUNGER IN ST. JOHNS COUNTY.