COA builds pie van in preparation of Wheatland Music Festival

“Darn Good Pies,” according to COA Nutrition/Health Director Shawn Sredersas, was founded by president of the fundraising committee Louise Christiansen, before she passed away in 2018. These pies come in a few flavors including, cherry, apple and specialty pies, depending on the event they are being sold at. (Courtesy photo)

MECOSTA COUNTY — After trying to get into the Wheatland Music Festival for several years as a vendor, the Mecosta County Commission on Aging has been accepted into the festival and will be selling their “Darn Good Pies” in their new “pie van.”

“It’s difficult to get into Wheatland, because it’s such a popular event, so it’s been a process,” COA Nutrition/Health Director Shawn Sredersas said.

Sredersas is the nutrition/health director of the COA, and said she is looking forward to selling their pies at a well-known event.

“At first it was just an idea one of our seniors came up with. Pies were what we zoned in on, and it just took off,” Sredersas said. “Now we’re known for ‘darn good pies.'”

People have the option of either apple or cherry flavors during most events, but lately, Sredersas has been wanting to create a “specialty pie” for each event they attend, after their pecan and chocolate derby pies were such a hit at the Mecosta County Fair.

“The idea is still evolving,” she said. “But I want to make a special flavor for each event, so we’ll definitely have a special Wheatland pie.”

A simple, homestyled apple pie, according to Sredersas, came from former president of the COA fundraising committee, Louise Christiansen, who passed away in 2018.

“All of the very successful things that are now being successful started out grass-root from Louise,” she said, noting how happy Christiansen would be if she saw how many people her idea would help.

Now sold for $5, the pies are used as a fundraiser for the COA’s Meals on Wheels program.

According to Sredersas, the Meals on Wheels program works to provide hot meals to seniors who are home-bound.

“The services we provide enable them to stay in their own homes for as long as possible,” she said. “I like to say, ‘For every sweet pie we sell, we feed two hot meals to a senior.'”

While Sredersas is excited to raise money for their Meals on Wheels program, she’s also looking forward to the educational benefits that come with having a van at Wheatland.

“I like the idea of integrating the different ages together and educating individuals about the activities center, because the activities center is for everyone, not just for seniors,” she said. “It’s a fun event. You get to hear music and see lots of people.”

With their volunteers already chosen and ready to go, Sredersas encourages people to get involved and join the community of almost 200 COA volunteers for future events.

“We’ll have a whole team of volunteers helping us all weekend, but there’ll always be a staff member on hand,” she said. “We couldn’t do what we do, in the spectrum that we do it, without a team of volunteers.”

Those interested in purchasing a $5 pie can visit the COA pie van at the 2019 Wheatland Music Festival, beginning Friday, Sept. 6 and ending Sunday, Sept. 8.

“We’re just really excited to be part of Wheatland this year and to get our pies to even more people,” Sredersas said. “We’ll be there the whole weekend.”

Gavyn Whyte and his father, George Whyte, have spent their free time working on the Mecosta County Commission on Aging’s new “pie van.” This van will make its debut at the 2019 Wheatland Music Festival. (Courtesy photo)

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