Pies at many local Thanksgiving tables were sweet for reasons beyond their sugary, cinnamony, fruity ingredients this year. Their purchase also contributed to the Oxford Community Pool Project thanks to Mrs. Terri Woodford, Oxford’s speech language therapist, and her husband RC Woodford.
Each fall Mrs. Woodford quietly emails an order form to Oxford Academy staff who can choose apple, pumpkin, blackberry, cherry, blueberry, and pecan homemade-from-scratch pies (listed in the order of their popularity) for Thanksgiving. Pie popularity is growing -- this year 60 pies were sold.
“It’s just something I really enjoy doing,” Mrs. Woodford explained. “It gives me a good feeling. Making pies is a great time to reflect on and count my blessings. I am grateful to all who ordered; many of you have been with me since the beginning of this crazy task I take on each year.”
The pie sale tradition arose by accident some years ago when the Woodfords’ daughters were on the Blackhawks track team, and Mrs. Woodford set up a bake sale as part of a larger team fundraiser. Her 9 pies sold out in 20 minutes, which apparently gave her plenty of time to run home and start baking more. As quickly as pies came out of the oven, Mr. Woodford delivered them to the bake sale table. They kept going till ingredients ran out and sold a whopping 20 pies.
School staff love these mouth-watering pies, they take advantage of the option to buy frozen pies to bake at home, and they also appreciate having a delicious way to give back to their community. So, Mrs. Woodford keeps returning to the pie project each November.
Fundraiser beneficiaries have varied depending on the needs in the community: sometimes funds go to scholarships, sometimes to memorial projects, sometimes to school clubs and organizations. Pies are never sold for profit, however. She is clear that this isn't a business.
“I know my family enjoyed the Oxford pool for many years,” Mrs. Woodford said about her decision to donate $775 to the Town Pool Improvement Project this time. “I was always appreciative of the free swim lessons at the town pool. I’m glad to be able to give back.” The donation total even exceeded the cost of pies sold because many pie buyers gave extra (thank you!).
There is a lesson in this for young Blackhawks. Mrs. Woodford is a self-taught baker whose first pie was blackberry made according to a Betty Crocker cookbook recipe when she was in college. “If you can read you can cook. If you can read you can do almost anything,” she said. Rolling pins help too.
Public Information Specialist