Golden Valley Community Foundation is proud to support
Rose McGee, Founder of Sweet Potato Comfort Pies
Sweet Potato Comfort Pies: A Catalyst for Caring and Building Community.
MLK Day of Service
Keep your Eyes on the Pies!
Since 2015, Rose McGee, Calvary Lutheran Church and Golden Valley Community Foundation have teamed up celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr, a man whose life was dedicated to peace, equality and service. This unique event has been designed to bring people together to share their own authentic stories over sweet potato pie. In addition, the pies will be given to individuals and service groups in Golden Valley as a symbol of comfort, support and in celebration of overcoming various challenges.
GVCF Partnership and the Origin of Sweet Potato Comfort Pies
Four years ago, Golden Valley resident Rose McGee watched the events of Ferguson unfold following a police officer shooting of an unarmed man. “I’m sitting there watching TV and getting very frustrated, as other people were, and wondering what I could do,” said McGee. So, she went into her kitchen and began baking sweet potato pies.
She put 30 Sweet Potato Comfort Pies into her car and drove to Ferguson. She visited the site of Brown’s shooting, where she met a young woman who had known the young man and offered her pies. McGee continued handing out pies whenever she thought, “this person seems like they need a pie", including following the shootings of Jamar Clark and Philando Castile in MN.
In 2015, McGee organized Sweet Potato Comfort Pies with support from the Golden Valley Community Foundation, an event on the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in which volunteers gathered in a Golden Valley church kitchen to bake sweet potato pies. They made 86, representing the age Dr. King would have been that year. The next day, community members gathered to share the pies and tell personal stories, an event meant to foster dialogue about race. They have repeated the event again each year since 2015, building in small changes as they learned what worked well.
After four successful years, McGee and her team of volunteer community members knew they needed to start planning for Dr. King's 90th birthday in 2019. Because she worked with the Golden Valley Community Foundation (GVCF) to organize the first MLK Jr. Day celebration, she applied for a Small Sparks Grant to cover the costs of a meeting space and a skilled facilitator who would help the group plan.
Thanks to a $1,000 Small Sparks Grant from GVCF, the group met in the summer of 2018 to make plans for the 2019 celebration. As a result, their event will be broadened with more arts programming meant to encourage dialogue. The planning group identified musicians and artists who can foster the conversation McGee and her team are aiming to spark. They have also identified ways to strengthen their existing partnership with Perpich Arts Education High School in Golden Valley. The 2019 event is shaping up to be a strong, positive community engagement event. GVCF is grateful for the opportunity to support McGee in her efforts with Sweet Potato Comfort Pie: a catalyst for caring and building community.