By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The local non-profit MANNA is handing out its traditional holiday pies, 8,000 of them, just in time for Thanksgiving.

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For Sandy Bukowski, a retired Philadelphia special education teacher, it is another holiday where she is giving more than just thanks.

“We just give back a little bit to all those people who need our help,” she said Tuesday night at the Arden Theatre in Old City, one of the dozens of pickup spots for MANNA holiday pies.

Since 1997, the non-profit holds its “Pie in the Sky” fundraiser to bring in dollars for their efforts of feeding critically ill people in the region. Organizers say they prepare and deliver more than 70,000 meals each month to those dealing with with critical illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, cancer and kidney disease.

“We worked our whole lives and there’s a lot of people who haven’t been as healthy and we are,” Bukowski explained. “A lot of people don’t have people come to see them or to cook for them. It is just a way of giving back.”

Sitting next to Bukowski, manning a table full of about 40 pies or so, was Julie Johnson. Johnson not only helps with the pie distribution, but did her best to sell them at work.

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“We cut up samples and gave them out to encourage folks to buy them and we sold about 30 pies,” she said.

She even volunteers a few times a year at MANNA headquarters at 2323 Ranstead Street. However, she admits she is not one to dazzle in the kitchen.

“I don’t have any real culinary skills or anything like that. I just show up!” she joked.

There are five different pies to choose from. Apple, pumpkin, pecan and sweet potato pies cost $25, while the “Sky Pie,” a chocolate, caramel and pecan covered cheesecake costs $35.
And on this rainy night in Old City, Ryan from Havertown came in to pick up a pecan pie that he gets for his annual “Friendsgiving” dinner.

“We all have family that’s out of town so we get together and the pie’s a big part of it,” he said. “It’s just for a really great cause and we try to help out any way we can.”

The pie distribution took place Tuesday evening and continues Wednesday between noon and 4 p.m. The organization hopes to bring in more than $200,000.

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