Augusta University student Erin Schmidt was researching for a paper about food insecurities when she came across information about the Golden Harvest Food Bank.
When she decided at the end of September to hold a fundraiser, the decision for where the money would go was an easy one.
“I was a Girl Scout growing up and we participated in the ‘Spooky to be Hungry’ campaign, so I knew a little bit about them beforehand,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt, a sophomore who is majoring in graphic design, had an idea about making homemade apple pies to sell. Her father, Rene, reached out to the community to gauge interest, and after finding out people would be interested in not only buying her pies but also donating a minimum of $25 to Golden Harvest Food Bank, she got to work getting supplies and setting up the fundraiser on Facebook.
“Facebook has a feature that allows users to set up a fundraiser and all of the money will go straight to them, so that helped so we didn’t have to handle the money,” Schmidt said. “About halfway along the way, Golden Harvest ended up finding out about my fundraiser, and they ended up reaching out. They’re really surprised.”
Christina Alexander, communications coordinator for the Golden Harvest Food Bank, learned of Schmidt’s fundraiser a couple of weeks when she saw pictures of her pies from people who had been posting them online. Alexander said her one of her pies is going to donate about 100 meals for families who might not know where their next meal is coming from.
“They are beautiful works of art in pie crust,” Alexander said. “It made me stop and take a look at what she was doing and it was just such an involved and thoughtful way to give back to the community.
“It’s always inspiring and gratifying when we see someone like Erin take the time to consider what they can do for those who are experiencing food insecurity. So she took the time to look around, see that there was a need, ask what she could do to fill that need and then really go above and beyond, because she is doing this in her free time.”
Schmidt credits her pie creations to her graphic design “eye.”
“I don’t really like working with like one medium. For me, I like experimenting with so many different types of art, like pottery, typography, graphic design and illustration,” she said. “So, I just try and add art to life, every single thing that I do … so for me, baking and art went hand in hand.”
As of Oct. 22, Schmidt says she has 10 days remaining on her initial time frame, but is considering adding a few more days. She initially set a goal for $1,200 and currently has raised $1,402.
Schmidt is grateful for the support of her dad, who helped peel the apples, her boss, Dr. Elizabeth Huggins. She also appreciates the overwhelming positive response to her creations and the chance to be part of someone else’s life.
“The cool thing for me is that I’ve made pies for people’s baby showers and wedding anniversaries or book clubs … I feel like I’m making pies for such a good cause,” she said. “But then it’s also like a way for people to celebrate and enjoy life together. I feel like that’s the coolest thing, that I made someone happy.”