Lincoln and Jesuit students compete in pumpkin pie drive ahead of Thanksgiving

Published: Nov. 20, 2022 at 10:12 AM PST
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BEAVERTON, Ore. (KPTV) – The goal for students and faculty at Jesuit High School on Saturday? Gather as many pumpkin pies as they could.

The plan is for those pies to be distributed to families in need across the Portland metro area.

“Pumpkin pie is one of the most comforting things you can offer someone Thanksgiving week,” Amanda Vowels, an organizer with Youth Charity League, said.

“I do like pumpkin pie,” student Francis Vowels said, and was sure to note “with whip cream.”

It’s an annual tradition, but this is the first year at JHS. They’re in on it now due to their rival, Lincoln High School, who invited them to get involved.

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“There’s definitely a rivalry,” Francis Vowels said. “However, I think it’s more about the community and pie.”

This year’s goal is to collect 2,000 pies, because “the need is higher than it has almost ever been,” Amanda Vowels explained.

The roots of the tradition are in the early 2000s. That’s when “the pie drive was started by Chef Brophy of the Oregon Culinary Institute,” Amanda Vowels said.

Chef Brophy is someone Melanie Hammericksen, an LHS culinary teacher, knows well.

“He used to do this and have all of the students at Oregon Culinary make pies for him the week before Thanksgiving,” Hammericksen said. “Now, with his passing in 2018, we took it over.”

Hammericksen feels like she’s honoring a legacy because “he was like a father to me. He’s my inspiration, and kind of who I am as a teacher.”

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She says Brophy inspired the act of giving, and she’s glad that she can pass that trait along to her students.

“(The students) are leading the charge,” Amanda Vowels said. “They’re out on the street encouraging people to drop off a pie or drop off some money.”

“I feel like it’s the right thing to do,” JHS student Eli Begonia said. “I’ve been doing it for a while, so it’s kind of second nature at this point.”

Although JHS requires 65 hours of community service to graduate, Begonia said he thinks he “would just do it anyway.”

If you’re planning on making a pumpkin pie, here’s a word to the wise from Hammericksen: “Butter! Lots of butter!”

Also, in this case, “lots of love.”

“Happy Thanksgiving,” Francis Vowels said.

Donations are being accepted to help with the drive through the Youth Charity League.