When Ocean City resident Cat Gleason was a little girl she made a vow to herself to one day help the homeless and hungry in her community.
Standing in the St. Peter's United Methodist Church's kitchen surrounded by a endless amounts of flour, dough, sliced baked apples, Cat's vision is now her reality.
Cat, a 15-year-old sophomore at Ocean City High School, is Pie Girl. Every Wednesday she sells about 100 homemade pies and cobblers at the Ocean City Farmers Market to benefit God's Kitchen, a monthly feeding program St. Peter's United Methodist Church. The mission behind Pie Girl is "helping to feed the hungry and homeless one pie at a time." Everything is handmade down to the dough and the filling, and she uses seasonal and local produce such as blueberries and peaches as much as possible. She uses the church's health-certified kitchen to bake.
On Monday and Tuesday of each week she bakes, often with the help of her family and friends. Cat said she typically spends about 30 hours prepping and baking over the two-day span, beginning at about
8 a.m. and ending after 9 p.m. Then on Wednesdays from
8 a.m. to 1 p.m., or whenever she sells out, she's at the market.
Cat said she held two pre-Farmer's Market sales, one on Easter and the other on Memorial Day, as a trial run, to see if her pies would sell. She sold out and raised about $700, which she donated to the church.
Two weeks into the market's season - July 11 was week three - she said her expectations already have been surpassed. "It's going so much better than I ever imagined," Cat said. For the first Wednesday, she made about 100 pies and sold out in less than two hours. At this rate, will be able to write a check for about $1,000 to God's Kitchen by the end of July, her mother, Karin, said.
Cat keeps $50 a week for overhead and labor and donates the rest to God's Kitchen.
"My mom makes me take $50 a week because I work so many hours, but I'm like, 'No Mom, don't make me.' I don't need money myself," she said.
Karin Gleason said her daughter has always had a desire and drive to help others. In the second grade, her teacher gave out an assignment to her class to write down a New Year's resolution. Cat wrote, "Some day, I'm going to do something to help people," Karin said, adding that she stumbled upon the old assignment a few days ago, ironically two weeks after Cat had started Pie Girl.
Cat said she's looking forward to spending the rest of the summer as Pie Girl and doesn't mind giving up free time that could be spent sleeping in, having fun with friends or going to the beach.
"I'd rather be helping people than hanging out at the beach," she said. Plus, Pie Girl has been a family bonding experience. "Last night, we were all here in the kitchen till really late just joking around and making pies till like nine o'clock at night," Cat said.
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Ocean City resident Cat Gleason sells homemade pies and cobblers in an assortment of varieties some of which include apple, peach, blueberry, pecan and chocolate. She also sells pie pop, small pies balls on a Popsicle sticks made with an outer crust and a baked fruit filling.
You can purchase her pies at the Ocean City Farmer's Market from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 25. The farmer's market is located at Tabernacle Grounds between Fifth & Sixth streets along Asbury Avenue.