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Pumpkin pie contest a sweet addition to charity meals

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Pumpkin pie contest a sweet addition to charity meals

Pumpkin pie contest judge Ramon Bawanan takes a closer look at one of the 20 entries in the 2012 contest that benefits the United Samaritans Foundation’s Daily Bread lunch program.

File photos/


POSTED November 8, 2013 8:46 p.m.

Food brings friends and families together around the table throughout the year, and a Thanksgiving feast is no exception. As people across the nation tuck into a good meal at home on this holiday, several local community members in need are not able to experience the quintessential Thanksgiving flavors. Local chiropractor David Dubyak is pairing up with the United Samaritans Foundation for the 18th year to provide pumpkin pie for those in need this Thanksgiving.

On Thanksgiving the USF of Turlock uses its Daily Bread mobile food truck to present those in need with a special Thanksgiving lunch of hot turkey, greens beans, a dinner roll, and more. Dubyak contributes the pumpkin pies from his contest which Maris Sturtevant, COO of USF Turlock, says makes all the difference.

“It is really nice to be able to hand out homemade pies on Thanksgiving. A lot of who we serve are the working poor who maybe have a house but don’t have the money to bake a pie themselves,” said Sturtevant.

Dubyak began the annual pumpkin pie contest after witnessing the work of USF when his daughters helped make sandwiches for the foundation as children. After seeing the long line of community members waiting to accept lunch, Dubyak began thinking of ways to contribute.

“I wanted to motivate people to donate. The pumpkin pie contest is a lot of fun, but it is really rewarding to have an impact and actually help people out there. A hot plate of food and a piece of homemade pie can tell someone that there are people out there thinking of them,” said Dubyak.

Each pie submitted affords USF eight slices and each contestant is required to submit two pies. Last year Dubyak’s practice received 150 pies, but he is hoping to near the record of 212 pies that he received three years ago. A large portion of the donations each year comes from a Ceres High School home economics classroom that donates about 50 pies.

The panel of pumpkin pie judges rotates each year. The lucky pie tasters this year include Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden, California State University,  Stanislaus President Joseph Sheley , Hugo Ramirez of the City of Modesto, Stanislaus Community Foundation CEO Marian Kaanon, and Modesto architect Michael Pratt.

Dubyak’s advice to bakers considering submitting a pie is to keep it simple.

“You don’t have to find a peculiar recipe. Ninety percent of the time, it’s the traditional pie that wins,” said Dubyak.

No prior registration is required to enter the contest and bakers of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to participate. Bakers can drop off their pies at Dubyak’s office from 2 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 25. Judging will take place that night. The first place prize is $100 and the second place prize is $50. Dubyak is also accepting canned food donations. For more information, call 668-1944.

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