Paul Matson: And let’s have another piece of pie
One great indicator of the caliber of our Nevada County community is the wealth of nonprofit organizations working to improve our lives and the place in which we live. One of these is the KARE Crisis Nursery, and one woman has come up with a highly innovative, ambitious way of raising needed funds — making and selling top-quality fruit pies.
The nursery was founded in 2000 by Soroptomists International of Grass Valley, under the leadership of Fran Freedle and Mary Graebner. Their goal and mission was to reduce the large number of children being placed in Child Protective Services. Too many kids were being separated from their families due to various forms of “hard times.” KARE Crisis has been helping out for nearly 20 years.
The nursery is licensed by the State of California for accepting children on a short-term basis, when needed, in order to help keep those families together.
It allows a parent to turn their full attention to a sick or hospitalized child by leaving their other children at the nursery. Some single parents need time for job hunting or their own medical treatments and appointments.
It provides a safe place for an estranged parent to fulfill court appointed visits, as well as a secure spot for a “safe exchange” between parents. This environment, set in a quiet residential neighborhood, is secure and comfortable for one and all. The top floor of the home is for kids age 6 and younger, and the lower floor for kids up to the age of 18.
It has a solid, dedicated board of directors and a highly qualified and experienced staff serving 390 families and their more than 530 children annually. Those numbers grow with each ensuing year. Lynn Woerner is the executive director. Lynn’s sister-in-law, Sarah, has practiced pediatric medicine in Nevada County since 1982. She donates her time at the nursery as the volunteer/outreach coordinator.
Dr. Sarah Woerner’s goal is “to provide a permanent, steady income stream to the nursery by making, baking, selling and personally delivering homemade pies. This project is intended to raise money in a unique manner that will not compete with our other nonprofit groups’ fundraising efforts.” The nursery’s annual fundraising revenue needs are around $100,000 per year.
She and her husband, Tony Norskog, are well equipped to take on and successfully tackle this project which is officially dubbed “Dr. Sarah’s Pies.” Operating under the California Homemade Food Act, the business is licensed through Nevada County as a “Cottage Food Operator.” The kitchen is seasoned from years of pie-making experience for the Penn Valley Rodeo Pie Booth and the Draft Horse Classic. A commercial freezer has been acquired to preserve the fruit when in season until it’s needed.
At the same time, Tony has converted his vineyard to an orchard boasting 68 peach trees and 100 rhubarb plants.
Even after the orchard matures, more fruit will be needed. Recently they drove to Oregon to pick up 400 pounds of rhubarb. The Pom’s Away Orchard in Live Oak provides hundreds of pounds of fruit for the project, including peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums and apples. You might also spot her picking wild California blackberries wherever they are found. It’s worth noting that none of the fruit used has ever been sprayed.
I have personally ordered and sampled some of these fine products. The fruit is perfect and wholesome. The crusts are made from scratch, and coming soon are gluten-free crusts. The pies are both delicious and substantial, weighing in at over three and half pounds. Also coming soon will be reusable custom pie tins.
One hundred percent of the profits go to funding the KARE Crisis Nursery.
I asked Sarah what her long-term goals are, in addition to helping support the nursery.
She replied, “I want to get a magnetic sign for my electric delivery vehicle which would say ‘Buy a Pie, Help a Child’ plus a giant plastic pie attached to the top!”
Paul Matson, who lives in Nevada City, is a member of The Union Editorial Board. His opinion is his own and does not reflect the viewpoint of The Union or its editorial board. Write to him at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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