Volunteers find place to bake pies for AIDS Foundation

AIDS Project volunteers at the U’s Bennion Community Service Center found a kitchen, and realized their goal Saturday to bake 200 pies for families who are part of the Utah AIDS Foundation.

Thanks to a Presbyterian church in the Salt Lake City avenues neighborhood, the pies were made and distributed to families as part of their Thanksgiving gift basket.

“We are happy that we found a place,” said Project Director Angelina Chan. “Up until just a few days before the event, we had no idea where we were going to bake the pies.”

Just last week, students were unsure whether or not the annual pie-baking event would take place because of a problem in finding a place to bake the large order, according to Chan.

For the past several years, the center used the Foods and Nutrition Research Laboratory at the U’s HPER building.

This year, however, officials from HPER said they denied the Bennion Center access to the laboratory because of security issues related to the building.

Chan said other than the problem of finding a place to bake the pies, the event went well.

“We had around 20 volunteers from the U,” she said. “We had to do some inventive things like make pies at the center and transport them to the church, but it worked out.”

Chan added that last-minute changes were hard to deal with, but with help from students in the dorms and other volunteers, the center completed the task.

“Ultimately the event was a struggle, but we had lots of help this year,” she said. “The dorms donated 100 pies to the project and it helped us out a lot.”

Chan said individuals at the Presbyterian church were very accommodating.

“They had to go through a lot of people to help us out,” she said. “We ended up not having to pay for the use of the kitchen and we are very grateful to them.”

Chan, however, said she hopes the center can rebuild its relationship with the people in charge at the HPER before the event takes place next year.

“We would like to work with HPER on the project in the future,” she said. “HPER is clean, sanitary and many people who receive the pies already have compromised immune systems.”

Chan added that if the center is unable to bake the pies in HPER next year, the project team will have a last-resort backup plan.

“It is up to the directors for next year,” she said. “One possibility is that they could assign pies to take home and bake.”

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