A personal update from Sullie

I am excited to report that I have accepted a temporary position with MISSION, to assist with their day time warming center. Not even 4 weeks after being fired from the shelter, my friends Shari and Peggy interviewed me, and then offered me a job. I am looking forward to getting back to work, especially with a group whose values so closely match my own.

(You can learn more about MISSION here – http://www.missiona2.org/ )

While my employment and financial troubles are, for the most part, resolved now, there is still the issue of my recent attack. It’s been just over two weeks now. I still sleep a lot, because being awake is emotionally taxing. My sleep is punctuated by nightmares. I can rally for short periods of time, especially when in the presence of others, which is why I felt comfortable accepting a part time position. I am fairly confident I can handle 4 or 5 hours of human interaction, 5 days a week.

Chris and I are eternally grateful for everyone who sent a donation during this last month. Those donations have paid for groceries and gas and therapy appointments.

The next few months will be punctuated by reminders of my attack. I have decided to press charges, but the process is glacially slow. I still have not been contacted for a photo line up. As far as I know, my attacker has yet to be arrested or charged.

(If this is the first you are hearing of my attack, you can read the full story here. Warning, graphic content. http://smk-repository.blogspot.com/2015/11/111315.html )

The help I need most is from local friends. Send me a text, post cute animal pictures on my facebook wall, invite me out to do things. Even if I have to decline, I will appreciate knowing that you’re thinking about me.

We are still selling t shirts through Tee Spring. At this point, it’s no longer a financial emergency, but any extra funds we raise will be put to use, maybe on overdue car repairs or eye exams, or a thousand other little “luxuries” that have taken a backseat to survival.

http://www.teespring.com / sullie got fired (just remove the spaces)

Thank you again, for the kind words of encouragement, for the donations, for simply being there for me. It’s a comfort to know I’m not alone.


Now for sale – T shirts!

Hello pie friends!

We are announcing a T Shirt Fundraiser, through Teespring. Check out the campaign here: https://teespring.com/sulliegotfired

Short story, I lost my job at the homeless shelter, and we need a little help to keep our heads above water while I look for other work, finish the pie book, sell pies, etc. This is different than the paypal button here on the site, because this money is going directly to me and Chris. We will use this money for everyday needs, rather than strictly pie business.

Thank you.

We need help

Hello pie fans –

It’s been a rough year for us. In my last update, I told you that in the span of a few months, we had lost our housing and moved back in with my mother, and then I was incapacitated due to shingles. Happily, I have recovered! I was able to go back to work, and Chris was relieved from the responsibility of waiting on me hand and foot.

But, as you may have noticed, there haven’t been any pie events this summer. We haven’t finished our paperwork. We haven’t met with our legal team at all in 2015. And that’s not ok.

I struggle with asking for help with Pie It Forward, because I still feel so much guilt for the donations we took during the 2013 road trip. I feel like we haven’t given much of value in return for the money people have given us.

But. We need help. Pie It Forward isn’t going to happen unless I power through this guilt and ask. So.

Will you help us?

We need pie fans who live near us, really anywhere in the Ann Arbor area, to meet with us in person. We need in-person guidance and encouragement. We need help with the paperwork. We need company when we meet with the legal team.

Frankly, we need a team of our own. Chris and I are only two people. Right now we are treading water, trying to maintain our health, work our jobs, pay our bills, and maybe just maybe save a little bit of money for our own place someday. We don’t have a lot of extra energy or time. But if we had a team, if we had just 2 or 3 other people who could lend us a little of their energy and enthusiasm, we could make great things happen.

So I’m asking again – will you help us? Chris and I are both free from work on September 16th, and it would be amazing to meet with local pie fans to get stuff done.

Thank you pie fans. Your support and patience means the world to us.

Holding Pattern

Hello Pie Fans. It’s been almost 3 months since our last update. We were so excited after the St Pie Tricks Party. We still have all the money we raised, sitting in the Pie It Forward business account. But we haven’t seen our lawyer. We haven’t worked on our 501c3 application. We’ve been in a holding pattern.

Since October of 2013, when we first met with our legal team and begun the steps necessary to become a real non-profit, I’ve learned that the two things any fledgling project requires are time and money. And it seems like we’re always short on one of those ingredients, if not both.

When we first returned from the road trip, I was working and Chris was not. He filled out a lot of the paperwork and did a lot of the research. Whenever I had a day off, we would work together. But I was barely bringing in enough money to pay our rent, whether we were living in a friend’s driveway in the camper or renting a room in a basement.

Now things have reversed somewhat. I returned to my old job at the shelter and Chris secured employment as well. However, we are commuting to Ann Arbor from Brighton, with one car. In order to save gas and save Chris the stress of driving back and forth to pick me up, sometimes I camp out in Ann Arbor if I have several shifts scheduled close together. I’ve slept in the building or on friends’ couches nearby.

We’ve been surviving this whole time, just making ends meet. And all it takes is one unexpected event to throw the careful balancing act into chaos. In April, we ended up leaving the room we were renting in an awful hurry when the landlord began engaging in illegal activities. Luckily, we were able to move in with my mother. We shifted, adjusted, rebalanced … and then I got sick.

I am writing this update from my “recovery nest” aka the couch at my mother’s house. The coffee table is covered with bottles of pills and creams. I have shingles right now. I am in too much pain to wear proper clothes, so for the past 5 days, I’ve been wearing the same strapless loose jersey dress. Each day, Chris makes sure I’ve taken my medication, prepares a few snacks for me, and goes to work. I am hoping to return to work on the 7th, but right now, I am too contagious to be around people, especially pregnant people or people who have not yet had chicken pox. I am in quarantine.

We’ve discussed many ideas that we’ve had for Pie It Forward. One idea we had to drum up new interest was to hold a giveaway contest, where we would accept nominations from folks who want to surprise a friend, family member, or coworker with a delicious apple pie. We also want to host more events and resume bringing pies to the Sunday dinners at Mercy House. But right now, all we can do is talk about it.

We haven’t forgotten about our pie mission. We haven’t given up. I’m frustrated with our lack of progress but I have to accept my limitations.

The next few steps we need to take are relatively simple. We need to update our 501c3 application. We had the paperwork completed last summer, but we wrote all our answers with the hope of getting a building in Flint. Now we need to edit those answers to reflect the new plan, which is to find a location in Ypsilanti. And then we need to take the completed application to the legal team and give them the application fee.

I keep thinking back to the road trip in 2013. In some ways, things were simpler then, but I had some of the same frustrations. I remember driving south through Wyoming on our way to Colorado. The snow was blowing in thick, highway-obscuring sheets. I could feel the gusts smacking up against the sides of the Wagon House. I had both hands on the steering wheel, making tiny adjustments to the left and right as the tires threatened to let go of the road. Chris was beside me, checking the weather, looking at the map, keeping Shalosh calm, and encouraging me all the while.

It took all of our combined effort just to make it through that squall and arrive safely in Colorado. We had a singular goal – survival – and we couldn’t deviate from it at all. If I had taken my eyes off the road, if I had tried to pull over to look at something interesting, we would have been done for. And that’s what it feels like right now.

Hopefully, I’ll recover from shingles soon and I can rejoin the outside world. We’re also looking to trade in our truck for a smaller SUV, one that can pull a trailer with the Wagon House on it, but can also be used as a daily driver, to make our commutes to work easier. And one of these days, sooner rather than later, Chris and I will sit down with the paperwork and make the necessary edits.

In previous updates, this is where I would include a link to the paypal button. But the thing is, we don’t need money. We have all the money we need for the 501c3 application sitting in our business account. What we need is time, and health, and a little bit of stability, but there’s no paypal button for those things.

What I can ask for, and what is in your power to give, is patience. We need patience. We haven’t forgotten about our mission. With each day, with each story I read in the news about food stamp cutbacks, or the struggle to find affordable housing, I only grow more convinced of the need for a donation model cafe in Washtenaw County. We need a place where everyone can get a good meal and where everyone will be treated with dignity. It just won’t happen overnight.

Thank you pie fans.

Results of the Fundraiser Party

I can hardly believe I’m about to type out these words, but last night, we raised nearly $1,000! Finally, we’ll be able to submit our federal paperwork to become a 501c3.

We had a great turn out at last night’s St Pie Tricks Party. Our new musician friend, Dave, who we found on craigslist, kept the crowd happy with familiar tunes from the 60s and 70s. Helpful volunteers from the congregation stamped hands at the door and sold raffle tickets. And Chris and I got to mingle in the crowd and tell our pie story to many new people.

And between tickets at the door, raffle tickets, sales of extra pies, and two very generous donors, we raised almost $1,000.

We put lots of pictures up on instagram – https://instagram.com/pieitforward/

First thing Monday morning, we’re heading to our lawyer’s office! Thank you pie fans, we love you!


We are so excited to announce that we are having a fundraiser party!  Here are all the details!

March 14th from 5 to 8 pm

Brighton Unitarian Universalist Church, 3333 S. Old US 23, Brighton Michigan

Here’s the official announcement from the church:

Please join us to celebrate St Pie-tricks Day on March 14 from 5 to 8 pm, at a fundraiser party to benefit Pie It Forward! Shepherds pies, apple pies and soups will be served, and family friendly entertainment will be provided. Funds collected will help Pie It Forward pay for legal services to become a full-fledged non-profit organization with a donation-model cafe in the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti area. Tickets are $5 per person. Additional donations are appreciated. Take-home pies will be raffled.

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