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Reaching for the "Pie in the Sky"

SAN DIEGO, California -- Charles "Chad" Hutchison really likes pie. He especially likes pie during the holidays, and he makes it his goal every year to make sure everyone else does too.

At this time of the year, Hutchison gets involved with Mama’s Kitchen's annual “Pie in the Sky” event that encourages San Diegans to buy pies for their Thanksgiving table while helping put food on the tables of people with cancer, HIV or AIDS. One $25 pie sold equals eight meals for people immobilized by illness.

Hutchison, a nurse manager at UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, moved to San Diego in 2005. For several years he has worked on Thanksgiving Day. One year, looking for a way to provide his co-workers with food on Thanksgiving, he bought a pie from the Pie in the Sky event.

Chad explains why he then became involved with the charity: “Pie in the Sky was a perfect chance for me to give back to the community in a way that also let me give something to my coworkers.”

Pie donations come from professional bakers and their companies from around San Diego. Grand Hyatt San Diego and Sweet Cheeks Baking Company are among the many businesses that will be donating their pies this year.

Hutchison’s determination didn’t just stop at buying delicious pies for his co-workers. He turned his love of pies and love of community into an annual personal achievement that ranks him as one of Pie in the Sky’s highest donors. He says Mama’s Kitchen’s causes are important to him personally.

“Everyone has been affected in some way by HIV, AIDS, and cancer, and I’m no different. That does make it more personal for me, but regardless of that, I was raised to believe that feeding others is an important act of love, and fun as well. Participating in Pie in the Sky isn’t exactly like being able to break bread with someone, but it does allow them to do that with their own family, and on a daily basis. This event is a great coming-together of many things I value,” he said.

Hutchison said he is proud to be a part of Mama’s Kitchen and its efforts to feed those who cannot get out to feed themselves, or even shop for food. He says the organization’s reputation is what motivated him to help.

“Keeping our neighbors nourished and healthy is critical to our collective well-being," he said. "Mama’s Kitchen has a wonderful reputation in the community, they do important work, and being able to join them in this event is an honor.”

Those interested in helping can purchase pies until Nov 23. Your donation not only helps the community, bringing food to those that need it, but you will also be getting a hand-crafted pie: traditional apple, pumpkin, pecan or Dutch apple. Hutchison vouches that they are delicious.

“My favorite is pecan,” he said, “but I’ve had them all. It’s also fun to open the box and see where the pie came from. Being a part of this event has allowed me to sample pie from dozens of Mama’s Kitchen’s supporters, and they’ve all been delicious.”

Hutchison is dedicated to selling these pies every year and encourages people to do the same.

“I’ve seen how it makes people happy to be generous, and I like that I have this opportunity to open this door for my friends, family members, and coworkers," he said. "I have people from across the country who buy pies and donate them back, I have coworkers who now look forward to this all year. It’s easy to be committed to something that is so fun!”

To learn more about Mama’s Kitchen and Pie in the Sky or to purchase a delicious pie, click HERE.