Apple pies and more featured at Michigan Market

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 11, 2013

ST. CLAIR SHORES — With a chill hitting the morning air, it can only mean one thing — time for apple pies.

St. Clair Shores Senior Center members toil endlessly each fall to make hundreds of apple pies and pie packets to sell to benefit the center and its meal program. And for the past few years, the Senior Center has turned the pie sales into a festival on the center’s grounds boosted by community support.

This year, the pies will be sold as part of a Made in Michigan Market. The tie-in works, said director Sue Fickau, because the pie is, of course, made in Michigan.

The two-day event will be held in the lot of the Senior Center at Civic Arena, 20000 Stephens, from 1-8 p.m. Sept. 20 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 21. Fickau said more than 20 vendors have already signed up, and more are joining the crowd each day.

Those selling at the market include Bellaroma Natural Skincare Boutique in St. Clair Shores, Toothy Toys handmade pet accessories and Old World Gluten Free. There will also be plenty of entertainment, with My Friendz Band playing at 1 p.m. and Motor City Mix with Marvin Ruffin at 4 p.m. Sept. 20, and The Pro’s Band at noon and Legend the Band at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 21. Food and refreshments will also be available.

Then, at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21, members of the St. Clair Shores Police and Fire departments will play a charity hockey game against the GTJ Foundation to benefit the St. Clair Shores Senior Meal Program.

“That game is taking the place of the raffles we normally have to do,” Fickau said. “We’re so humbled and honored.”

St. Clair Shores Fire Lt. Scott Des Madryl, a 14-year member of the department, said he feels the Senior Center is the heart of the community.

“It’s always a good thing to help out the Senior Center; they’ve been very good to us over the years, so it’s time to give back,” he said. “This would be much more fun for everybody than selling raffle tickets. A little entertainment, a little exercise — you can’t beat that.”

He said there are a variety of ability levels on the Police and Fire team, and because of work schedules, it’s hard to practice together.

“Everybody’s been kind of doing their own thing,” he said. “We’re going to come together for a night and give it a shot. We’re just looking for a good time.”

Tickets for the game will be $10 and are available at the Senior Center or Civic Arena.

Fickau said the fundraisers are necessary because of the continuing federal government sequestration, which is cutting the center’s budget. She said she’s already been told to expect another 15 percent cut to funding from the bill for aging next year, which pays for the senior meals program.

“This is not the end of the cuts, unfortunately,” she said. “Every year, each dollar is more important to capture. We’re just going to assume that the money’s going to continue to be cut, and we’re going to have to come up with creative ways to continue to feed seniors.”

Part of the ways they make ends meet is with the annual sales of apple pies made by seniors at the center. Fickau said they have more than 60 apple pie partners already sponsoring a box of apples and are looking for about 20 more.

“We’re still receiving flour and sugar, so every donation we can get for product helps the bottom line,” she said.

In other good news, Fickau said she expects apples will be cheaper this year, as well. She said they would begin making the pies Sept. 15.

“The seniors get so jazzed up months in advance,” she said. “It’s a community project and we’re getting lots of people calling to say, ‘When can I come peel apples?’”

Apple pies will still be just $10 this year, and pie packets — which include all the fixings for a pie to be made at home — are $5.

“That’s been a massive hit,” said Fickau, explaining that the pie packets can be frozen for future use. “Especially toward the end, when we’ve run out of pies.”

Senior Center of the Shores (SCOTS) Board President Sue Zanoni said she appreciates Fickau’s commitment to finding new things for the seniors each year.

“Sue Fickau is very good about getting projects going that involve both the young and elderly,” Zanoni said. “People, as seniors, need to stay active and keep their minds and bodies (healthy). Sue introduces us to these different things, and the SCOTS Board — we’re willing to help her in any way that we can.”

For more information, check out the St. Clair Shores Senior Center on Facebook.