Sag Harbor Volunteers Make Sure There Will Be Pie on the Table for Thanksgiving - 27 East

Sag Harbor Express

News / Sag Harbor Express / 2217583

Sag Harbor Volunteers Make Sure There Will Be Pie on the Table for Thanksgiving

icon 23 Photos
Diane Lewis peels apples. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Diane Lewis peels apples. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Marlies Leifer uses an apple peeler and coring machine. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Marlies Leifer uses an apple peeler and coring machine. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

The apple peeler in operation. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

The apple peeler in operation. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Rhodi Winchell, from left, Cheryl Rozzi, and Fran Nill midway through the first day's preparation and baking. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Rhodi Winchell, from left, Cheryl Rozzi, and Fran Nill midway through the first day's preparation and baking. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Michi Ikeda, left, and Evelyn Ramunno peel apples the old-fashioned way. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Michi Ikeda, left, and Evelyn Ramunno peel apples the old-fashioned way. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Fran Bill with a small portion of the peeled apples that went into the pie-baking operation. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Fran Bill with a small portion of the peeled apples that went into the pie-baking operation. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Volunteers lay out pies to cool after a marathon baking session on Saturday. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Volunteers lay out pies to cool after a marathon baking session on Saturday. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Betsy Remkus with a load of just-baked apple crumb pies. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Betsy Remkus with a load of just-baked apple crumb pies. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Betsy Remkus with fresh-baked apple crumb pies. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Betsy Remkus with fresh-baked apple crumb pies. STEPHEN J. KOTZ

Rhodi Winchell with a load of freshly baked pies. LORI HAWKINS

Rhodi Winchell with a load of freshly baked pies. LORI HAWKINS

Margaret Smyth, Lady Tirado, and Angela Gardella in the kitchen. LORI HAWKINS

Margaret Smyth, Lady Tirado, and Angela Gardella in the kitchen. LORI HAWKINS

Preparing to bake pumpkin pies. LORI HAWKINS

Preparing to bake pumpkin pies. LORI HAWKINS

Cheryl Rozzi, from left, Rhodi Winchell and Fran Nill calculate how many more apples are needed to fulfill their orders.  LORI HAWKINS

Cheryl Rozzi, from left, Rhodi Winchell and Fran Nill calculate how many more apples are needed to fulfill their orders. LORI HAWKINS

Fran Nill was up early Saturday morning picking extra apples at Halsey Farm in Water Mill. LORI HAWKINS

Fran Nill was up early Saturday morning picking extra apples at Halsey Farm in Water Mill. LORI HAWKINS

The apple picking crew, Rhodi Winchell, Margaret Smyth, Fran Nill and Emily Nill, head back to the kitchen. LORI HAWKINS

The apple picking crew, Rhodi Winchell, Margaret Smyth, Fran Nill and Emily Nill, head back to the kitchen. LORI HAWKINS

A volunteer peels an apple. LORI HAWKINS

A volunteer peels an apple. LORI HAWKINS

Apples are washed before being peeled. LORI HAWKINS

Apples are washed before being peeled. LORI HAWKINS

Ewan Shannon, from left, Isabella Sferrazza, Lucia Caruso and Lillian Jaeger, who are all Pierson High School students, volunteered to help peel apples. LORI HAWKINS

Ewan Shannon, from left, Isabella Sferrazza, Lucia Caruso and Lillian Jaeger, who are all Pierson High School students, volunteered to help peel apples. LORI HAWKINS

Cheryl Rozzi and Pam Kern deliver pies to the Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry at the Old Whalers' Church. LORI HAWKINS

Cheryl Rozzi and Pam Kern deliver pies to the Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry at the Old Whalers' Church. LORI HAWKINS

Some of the volunteers, from left, Mario Cuomo, Lucia Beres, Carolina Cuomo, Rhodi Winchell, Cheryl Rozzi, Fran Nill, Betsy Remkus, Jean Notturno, Marie Schellinger, and Margaret Smyth gathered for a group photo as their work came to an end. LORI HAWKINS

Some of the volunteers, from left, Mario Cuomo, Lucia Beres, Carolina Cuomo, Rhodi Winchell, Cheryl Rozzi, Fran Nill, Betsy Remkus, Jean Notturno, Marie Schellinger, and Margaret Smyth gathered for a group photo as their work came to an end. LORI HAWKINS

Betsy Remkus checks on the cooling pies.  LORI HAWKINS

Betsy Remkus checks on the cooling pies. LORI HAWKINS

Marie Schellinger, Mario Cuomo, and Rhodi Winchell pack up pies for delivery. LORI HAWKINS

Marie Schellinger, Mario Cuomo, and Rhodi Winchell pack up pies for delivery. LORI HAWKINS

Rhodi Winchell pulls a tray of hot apple pies out of the oven. LORI HAWKINS

Rhodi Winchell pulls a tray of hot apple pies out of the oven. LORI HAWKINS

authorStephen J. Kotz on Nov 21, 2023

There was plenty of laughter, plenty of chatting and plenty of hard work as a group of volunteers — women you’d recognize working at the Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry or in a church kitchen, who were augmented by a group of Pierson High School students — gathered in the Sag Harbor Firehouse last weekend for an annual tradition of baking, oh, a couple of hundred pies to be donated to local food pantries and other organizations for Thanksgiving.

“It seems a little chaotic, but we have it under control,” said Cheryl Rozzi, one of those volunteers, as students measured dry ingredients for apple pie into large zip-lock plastic bags or joined women peeling apples by hand.

The group was led by Fran Nill, who was joined by her sisters, Rosemary “Rhodi” Winchell and Margaret Smythe, as well as their friend Rozzi, for the duration of the two-day bake-a-thon that ran from about 2 to 8 p.m. on Friday and all day on Saturday as, pardon the pun, the core group headed over to Halsey Farm in Water Mill at sunrise to pick a couple of hundred extra apples to make up for a shortfall that Nill said was a result of the first 450 apples she picked initially being on the small side. “That’s never happened before,” she said.

This year, the final tally came in at 247 pies, with 137 being apple or apple crumb and the remaining 110 pumpkin. Pies were sent to the Sag Harbor food pantry, the Bridgehampton food pantry, Living Waters Church, the Sag Harbor Helpers, which cooks meals for the homebound, and The Retreat, the shelter for victims of domestic violence.

The Thanksgiving pie bake-a-thon was started years ago as a fundraiser for the St. Andrew Catholic Church youth group.

“Way back when it first started, kids would get on the phone — they’d be going through that phone book The Express used to print looking for a name they recognized or who they thought might be willing to buy a pie,” Nill said. Proceeds went for things like ski trips or outings to the city.

The church group eventually disbanded, but the pie-baking tradition continued, with the volunteers using the Stella Maris kitchen to bake pies for the food pantry.

When the church sold that building to the Sag Harbor School District, the volunteers moved their pie preparation to the parish center, while sending pies out to be baked at the firehouse and Conca D’Oro pizzeria.

Finally, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the church closed the parish hall, and the entire operation moved over to the firehouse.

“It’s quite a production — all volunteers,” Nill said. She said the Boy Scouts sometimes help out and students from Pierson High School looking to fulfill community service requirements often join in. “We just roll with it.”

We’d have to say pardon the pun once again, but there’s actually no rolling, as in rolling dough out to make a pie crust, because these people are volunteers, not slaves.

Instead, Nill makes the rounds of local grocery stores to search for the best price on a bulk order of ready-made pie crusts and other ingredients.

When the group comes together the weekend before Thanksgiving, the first order of business is to roll out protective construction paper across the floor of the firehouse community room and set up different work stations for the tasks that need to be accomplished. The first pies were going into the firehouse ovens at around dinnertime on Friday, and the baking resumed on Saturday morning after the last apples were peeled and the pies prepped.

Saturday afternoon, the sweet scent of apple and cinnamon filled the air as dozens of pies cooled on tables set up under open windows. Volunteers arrived to pick up pies for various distribution points, while the crew began to clean up.

Asked how she felt, Nill said, “Exhausted, exhausted. But it’s a good feeling.”

You May Also Like:

Sag Harbor Village Police Reports for the Week of July 18

SAG HARBOR VILLAGE — Village Police assisted school administration officials on July 11 in the morning in an anti-shooting event lockdown drill for the elementary, middle and high school. The drill was successfully executed, police reported. SAG HARBOR VILLAGE — Village Police received a report of a verbal altercation on Wharf Street the night of July 8. The altercation took place at the entrance to an ice cream parlor. The man who called the police told them that individuals in the doorway had started shouting and screaming at him, and that he felt threatened. Employees in the store responded that ... 18 Jul 2024 by Staff Writer

Surfers Enjoy 26th Annual Rell Sunn Surf Contest and Benefit

The 26th annual Rell Sunn Surf Contest and Benefit, originally scheduled for Saturday but postponed ... 17 Jul 2024 by Drew Budd

Close to Home

This is an editorial, but the Editorial Board has given me the chance to write a personal message, one that we all endorse but filtered through my personal experience. You see, Butler, Pennsylvania, is my hometown — near enough, at least, that my high school years were spent in a house just 10 miles from the Big Butler Fairgrounds, where I attended the annual fair there, and the frequent Jaycees’ haunted houses around Halloween, which I once believed were the most terrifying thing that could be experienced on that site. I had a couple of old friends in that crowd ... by Joseph P. Shaw

Bill Hemmer Reports From the Front Lines of the Republican National Convention

Last Thursday afternoon, Bill Hemmer stood on the 21st floor of the News Corp. Building ... by Michelle Trauring

Congeniality Turns Into Distrust in Sag Harbor

For much of the past year, the Sag Harbor Village Board was a seemingly peaceable ... by Stephen J. Kotz

Inaugural Team Boomer Pickleball Tournament at SYS Raises Over $7,000

With over $7,000 raised to go toward the fight against cystic fibrosis, the inaugural Team ... 16 Jul 2024 by Drew Budd

Hamptons Youth Triathlon Is Major Success After i-tri Sees 20 Percent Increase in Participation This Year

Theresa Roden said this past year was the most successful in the 14-year history of ... by Drew Budd

Ross School Elects Emily Tisch Sussman as New Board Chair

In 2020, at the height of the COVID pandemic, Emily Tisch Sussman and her family ... by Hope Hamilton

Sag Harbor Homeowner Gets Approval for 'Living Shoreline'

A Sag Harbor homeowner on Redwood Road was given the go-ahead by the village’s Harbor ... by Stephen J. Kotz

Breakwater Yacht Club Hosts 42nd Annual Sag Harbor Cup

The 42nd annual Sag Harbor Cup set sail from Noyac Bay on Saturday under overcast ... by Michael Mella