Teaneck—Last Thanksgiving, 400 pies were baked in a private home in Teaneck, along with 250 loaves of pumpkin-cranberry bread. That’s a lot of sweets for one house. But don’t worry—it’s not just for one family. It’s a pie bake sale with a rich history and a message.
The goal of the bake sale, according to founders Sharon Wieder, a Teaneck resident and her sister, Adeena Sussman of Manhattan, is to raise funds and awareness for Sharsheret, the national not-for-profit organization supporting young Jewish women and their families facing breast or ovarian cancer.
The two sisters lost their mother, Stephanie Sussman, and grandmother, Ann Nadrich, to ovarian cancer, and created the bake sale in memory of the women who empowered them in the kitchen. Wieder herself is a survivor of breast cancer who got involved with Sharsheret during her own treatment. Their bake sales, which have extended to friends running sales from their own kitchens, have so far netted $80,000 for Sharsheret. Now in its fifth year, the bake sale extends to 11 cities, including Jerusalem.
“We wanted to do something positive, in memory of our mother, who was a big baker and entertainer who passed away in 2006,” said Wieder. “We’re not just doing it to raise money. We want to raise awareness about Sharsheret and the resources that are available to women fighting cancer and their families,” she said.
Four hundred pies may seem like a lot, but Wieder brushes off the work. “It’s very natural for us to do this, and it’s a special time for us to do something together to remember our mom,” she said. Bake sales in other cities were started by friends of the Wieders and Sussmans who decided to join the cause, but have now reached out to others who want to support Sharsheret in this way.
The sisters provide guidance to the bakers as they organize their own bake sales. “We’ve created a kit where we have all the recipes we make, a timeline, a letter we send to family and friends, a blurb to send to shuls and schools for announcements, and we provide tips and hints for doing this huge baking job. All of the products we buy are kosher, pareve and baked in a kosher kitchen. People call if they have questions about the kashruth, and my sister and I are available by phone or email as much as possible,” Wieder said.
The bakers essentially donate all the raw materials for the pies (which reaches into the thousands of dollars), and then 100% of the proceeds from the sales go to Sharsheret. Wieder added that this year the website offers the option of donating specifically to support the bakers of the project, to defray their costs of raw materials.
Pies can be ordered through the website at http://www.sharsheret.org/pies-for-prevention. Because all the pies are baked fresh, orders need to be in by Sunday, November 17th. Sharon Wieder is happy to answer any questions at 201-837-7837.
By Elizabeth Kratz