It is that time of the year again as volunteers gather at Neosho's First Christian Church to make apple pies for a good cause.

"We will be making more than 1,000 apple pies," said Judy Davis, one of the volunteers. "Everything is handmade, we make the dough from scratch and get the apples from the orchard."

The annual event started last week.

"It is our fundraiser so every year we do at least $4,000 that goes to missions and to help those in need," she said. "That is not all of our profit, so then we look for what is happening. I know after the Joplin tornado we were housing a lot of rescue crews."

The apple pie making project began back in 1982. The first year the pie makers made 78 pies.

What is unique about the pie making process is that it is like an assembly line.

How it all works

As the apple pie makers enter the church, each of them starts working at different stations. The stations consist of the peelers, slicers, dough makers, the rollers, the spice people, the pie assemblers and the pie baggers/packaging in the freezer.

One of the first steps is coring and peeling the apples. The dough is made the night before. A pizza roller machine is used and then the dough is cut to size to be put in the pan.

Once the coring and the peeling are complete, apples are cut into small wedges or pieces. These then go to the kitchen, where they wait to go into the pie dough.

Once the dough is put into a 9-inch aluminum foil pan, the apples and different spices are put into the pies. The pies are not cooked, but rather are bagged in plastic bags along with instructions on how to prepare them. The pies are then placed in the freezers. The group makes the pies in the morning hours of Tuesdays and Thursdays at the church. They will make the pies until the end of September. The pies sell for $8 each.

The volunteers are either church members or come from the area.
"The best thing that I think is there are people that don't go to our church who come to work. I think that it is like the old barn raisings or quilting clubs, it is like you are part of something that is much bigger than you," said Davis. "There is lots of fun, teasing and fellowship."

Davis said that businesses and individuals purchase the pies for either incentives or to give away, such as at Christmas time.

To purchase a pie, please contact the First Christian Church, located on Oak Ridge Drive, at 451-1958 or call Davis at 451-2981. Those wanting a pie can also stop by the church.