By Richard Lefever
For The Sentinel 

Holiday Pies provide scholarships


December 5, 2018


PIES ON PARADE: Pies line tables at the Goldendale Grange under the watchful eyes of Grange pie makers. The Grange's holiday pies are sold to fund scholarships for area young people.

Had you driven by the local Grange Hall immediately prior to Thanksgiving, you would have thought the grange had opened a new bakery. The unmistakable aroma of pies baking in the grange ovens was seeping from the building and permeating the entire neighborhood.

Scrumptious pies hand made in the Goldendale Grange kitchen have been subsidizing the Grange scholarship fund since 1990. Two early Goldendale Grange members, Harold and June Adkins, established the first scholarship account in 1971. Their original endowment provided for two scholarships of $250 a year, one for a boy and one for a girl. The scholarship recipients' parents or grandparents were required to be Goldendale Grange members in good standing.

For several years the fund was able to sustain itself with the high interest rates offered at the time. As interest rates declined it became necessary for the grange to find a new way to maintain the scholarship program.

In 1988, Goldendale Grange 49 was asked to assist Alder Creek Grange 890 in baking fresh pies for the grange pie booth at the Pioneer Picnic and Rodeo in Cleveland, Washington. Even though the pie project was 50 miles distance from Goldendale and very labor intensive, the Grange continued the pie project until 2009, when the project coordinator passed away and the booth was discontinued.

Back in 1990 it was observed that there was a tremendous untapped local demand for Thanksgiving holiday pies. Baking fresh pies was a natural solution to the scholarship fund dilemma. The Grange immediately went to work making and baking homemade pies to fill that demand. This year 266 holiday pies were prepared.

As the demand for holiday pies skyrocketed, the Grange was approached to provide a pie booth at the annual community days celebration in July. Summer months are busy times for the Grange ladies, so the number of pies available was limited to 100. Traditionally the Community Days pies sell out within the first hour.

Using the proceeds from our pie sales, after expenses, the Grange was able to offer six scholarships in 2018. A neutral unbiased vetting committee reviews all applicants. Following the committee's recommendation, scholarships were offered to: Addie Enyeart, Caleb Pittman, Hanna Hoffman, Cassie Kayser, Lucas Donalen, and Justin Wells. Recipients still need to have a Grange connection in order to be eligible for a scholarship

All pies are handmade in a room full of ladies who truly love to make pies. They aren't typical pies-every one is handcrafted using only the best local fruit. Huckleberries from the berry fields of Mt. Adams were handpicked by Shirley Pence. Sweet cherries donated by Kay Kayser Thompson from a secret tree that only she knows the location. Succulent peaches came from the Columbia River orchards at Maryhill.

Goldendale Grange is fortunate for its community support and generosity. Many of its pie customers not only purchase holiday pies but also donate many of ingredients with the knowledge they'll eventually be used to provide a scholarship to deserving young individuals.

For over 150 years, the Grange has been known as a family-oriented organization. Its pie project exemplifies that claim. Kay Kayser Thompson and her daughter Luann supervise the kitchen crew. Their grandson, third-generation Miles, helped briefly and has been taught to hold his own in a kitchen full of women while creating his own pie. Grange Master Mary Anne Enyeart and her grand-daughter Anna were covered in flour while kneading tubs of pie dough. Grange member Lanae Johnson provided a precious moment when she was caught explaining her secret to making an awesome pie to Noah, her 12-year-old grandson. Johnson is also an accomplished cake baker-decorator and in constant demand. She has exhibited her artistic ability by providing beautiful cakes for most of the special Grange events. This year's pie baking crew consisted of 25 ladies, including both Grange members and non-members.

This group of special ladies not only love to make pies, but they're also extremely critical of the pies they make. If a pie doesn't meet their expectations, they don't hesitate in discarding it. The day before the pies were to be delivered, the ladies discarded a group of pies that didn't make the grade. Showing true dedication, these ladies arrived at 4 a.m. the next morning to remake the rejected pies before delivery time that same morning.

Holiday pie sales has been the Grange's premier community service projects for many years. This is only one of the many projects it does that helped gain it recognition at the 2018 National Grange Convention in Stowe, Vermont, as a National Distinguished Grange-an elite group of only 33 granges found throughout the country.


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