Today, the eve of Thanksgiving, is delivery day for Kati Hilario. Tuesday was baking day.
On Thanksgiving, 15-year-old Kati intends to eat most of a pumpkin pie herself and to give thanks that nearly 150 people boosted her mission to feed hungry people by paying her to provide them with holiday pies.
The Maria Carrillo High sophomore and a few helpers baked 146 pies Tuesday at the spiffy, spacious commercial kitchen at the Redwood Empire Food Bank.
“I’ve got everything I need,” she said as she blended another bowl of pie filling in an industrial-strength mixer. Marveling at the machine, she remarked, “It’s so strange using a mixer; I usually hand-mix it all.”
In 2011, the first year that Kati generated a donation to the food bank by baking pumpkin pies, she and her mother, attorney Lisa Ann Hilario, prepared 16 pies in the kitchen of their Santa Rosa home.
Each year since, Kati has attracted more orders. Last year, she sold 75 pies and the folks at Fountaingrove Inn invited her to bake them in their kitchen.
On Tuesday, she and her mom and some food bank staffers baked dozens of pies at a time in the like-new commercial kitchen of the food bank campus that opened 20 months ago on Brickway Boulevard, off Airport Boulevard.
Kati sells her pre-paid, pre-ordered pumpkin pies — created with the tried-and-true recipe on cans of Libby’s pumpkin — for $15 each. Counting the donations she received from people who gave her money but said they don’t need a pie, she’s taken in $2,800 this year.
She’ll pay for all the ingredients, then give every cent of what is left to the Redwood Empire Food Bank.
Kati said that today her mom and three volunteer drivers will help her deliver all 146 pies to customers from Petaluma to Healdsburg and from Sebastopol to Sonoma. Thanks to a special order from Gary and Lois Passarino, they’ll drop off 10 pies at the Redwood Gospel Mission.
On Thanksgiving, Kati will sit with her family and feast on a holiday meal accompanied by the knowledge that she’s done her part to help assure that no one goes hungry.
You can reach Staff Writer Chris Smith at 521-5211 and firstname.lastname@example.org.