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.