Pies, a traditional symbol of the bounty and warmth of the holiday season, were flying out the front door Tuesday afternoon at Grooveground Coffee Bar.
The shop was one of the South Jersey pick-up locations for orders placed with the Philadelphia-based MANNA (Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance). The sale is the biggest fundraiser of the year for MANNA, which delivers meals to individuals homebound by chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
"[Grooveground co-owner] Chris [Rocco] and I like to get involved as much as possible with organizations like this," said Mike Snyder of Grooveground. The Collingswood coffee shop was invited to participate in the promotion for the first time this year.
"We've done food drives in the past; this is a nice transition," Snyder said. "[MANNA] do[es] good things with very little money."
At $25, the baked goods have a pedigree of love, coming from the agency’s Philadelphia kitchen, where they were hand-made by volunteers like Ro Miller of Haddon Heights.
“It’s kind of fun,” Miller said. “You can schedule a whole group to come in and do a bonding thing. It’s nice for an office to do.”
Karly Grossman of Cherry Hill has volunteered in the kitchen at the Ranstead Street headquarters of MANNA before, but was helping distribute pies for the first time Tuesday. She said that buying a pie from MANNA attaches a valuable donation to “something people would be doing anyway.”
Collen Kelley, also of Cherry Hill, was helping hand out pies for a second year. Kelley works as a nutritionist at a youth residential group home, and said she’d made a few friends volunteering at MANNA.
“You’re also over there for a really good cause,” she said.
Each of the three women was planning to take home a pie, except for Miller, who was disappointed that the signature “Ske Pie” (a cheesecake-with-chocolate-ganache confection) was all sold out at the time she placed her order.
Apple, pecan, pumpkin, and sweet potato are the other varieties, with apple and pumpkin the most popular choices at the Collingswood pick-up location. In all, the volunteers dished out more than 100 pies Tuesday, with another 100 or so available for pickup Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m.
If you missed the opportunity to order from MANNA the first time around, cash-and-carry purchases are available at three Philadelphia locations Wednesday.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., they’re selling at The Bellevue (Broad & Walnut, Philadelphia) and 30th Street Station (30th & Market, Philadelphia), and you can buy pies from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at MANNA headquarters (2323 Ranstead Street, Philadelphia).