Volunteers make pies to help fund missions

Volunteers of all ages make apple pies from scratch in the Grace Lutheran Church auditorium on Saturday.

FAIRMONT — Gathering in the Grace Lutheran Church auditorium, 75 volunteers had given up their Saturday to do one thing: make apple pies.

The spectacle of so many volunteers getting their hands dirty with pie ingredients is all for a good cause. Every year, the Grace Mission Committee, made up of members of the congregation, put on an apple pie sale to raise money for various mission programs, whether it be local, regional or international.

The pies are made from scratch on Saturday morning, with volunteers working together to prepare about 325 pies to be sold over the weekend. Louise Hendricks, secretary of the Mission Committee, said that about half of the pies are pre-ordered and are picked up on Saturday, while the rest are sold on Sunday.

Hendricks said that pie sale is one of the group’s largest fundraisers, typically raising around $3,000 every year.

The fundraiser has grown significantly over the 23 years since it started, said Hendricks. In the first year, 75 pies were made to be sold.

Other fundraisers by the group include selling Christmas trees, mailing out letters with tea bags asking for donations and having a small bake sale in the winter. The rest of the donations, said Hendricks, come from the congregation. Each year, the group raises about $72,000 to distribute to many groups.

“We have a great group of people,” said Hendricks.

Hendricks said that the fundraisers are also a good fellowship opportunity, where confirmation youths get involved and are paired up with adults in the congregation.

“It gets different generations to mix together and get to know each other,” said Hendricks. “They all seem to have fun and come back to work year after year. It’s a fun day.”

By the end of the second service on Sunday, said Hendricks, almost all the pies will have been sold.

Pat Heidmann, who has been involved in the fundraiser since the beginning, said that she is surprised every year by how many pies are sold.

“It only happens because people support us and work with us,” said Heidmann.

Heidmann said that one of the top priorities of the church is to help with the missions, and that the church is very mission-oriented.

“It’s the Lord’s wish, it’s just what we do,” said Heidmann. “And it’s fun.”