For market visitors, its world aid by the slice

Amid the current threat of war in Syria, Pies for Peace, a small group of committed vendors at the Forest Grove Farmers Market, supports worldwide peace efforts.

In 2003, after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Carol Woodford, Patricia Keeney, Kim Monteleone, and Lark Brandt founded Pies for Peace. “We wanted to do something, anything, because we were all cast back to Vietnam for various reasons, and recognized the suffering of the people during war,” said Brandt.

First the group contacted Mercy Corps, an international development non-profit, which was working on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan and needed funds to continue its work.

Brandt had experience in fundraising from a two-and-a-half year pie-baking effort when she had worked to save Imbrie Farmstead (now the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse) from destruction. And Monteleone was connected to the Forest Grove United Church of Christ, where they arranged to use the kitchen.

The women started selling the handmade pies at various community events. Then in 2005, when Adelante Mujeres took over management of the Forest Grove Farmers Market, Pies for Peace was invited to be a vendor.

Today, a slice of pie from Pies for Peace has become a staple for many market customers. Every other week the group offers a delicious selection of pies — by the slice or whole. All profits are donated to Mercy Corps to help war victims in Iraq and Afghanistan, “although sometimes they ask us if they can divert funds to another disaster, such as Katrina or the tsunami in Asia,” said Brandt. “We have enormous respect for the staff at Mercy Corps all over the world. They are making a huge difference.”

Along with Brandt, Dale and Julie Case, Roger Nipp and Brook Hoffman — who now make up the group members — keep operations simple. Many of their pie ingredients are donated by customers or purchased from local farmers. And even though it appears to be a small effort, Pies for Peace expects to pass the $50,000 mark in total donations over the years in 2013.

Contact Lark Brandt to order pies for your next event by calling 503-640-6815 or visiting them at the Forest Grove Farmers Market on the first, third and fifth Wednesdays of the month.

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