Annual pie baking contest benefits domestic violence survivors

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BERRYVILLE, Va. (WDVM) — The Ms. Geneva Jackson Pie Baking Contest is not your average bake-off, it benefits a local organization that holds a special place in the heart of the woman the competition is named after.

Ms. Geneva Jackson started volunteering with the Laurel Center, an organization in Winchester, Va which works to help survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, in 1988. She also served on their Board of Directors for over a decade. Ms. Jackson was an advocate for rape victims, often accompanying them when they went to testify in court as well as providing counseling to women both in the hospital and at the shelter. She is also a phenomenal baker and an icon in Clark County. The yearly pie baking contest is a way to honor her and benefit the organization she volunteered with.

“Volunteering is like paying rent to live on this Earth,” Ms. Jackson said. “By the grace of God, I could be in that thing or any of my kids, I have five kids and they could be in the shelter, but I am helping my sisters who are in the shelter.”

One entrant baked a pie to honor the people that the Laurel Center seeks to help and protect with their services. Julie Dodson was one of sixteen entrants in this year’s Ms. Geneva Jackson Pie Baking Contest. She decorated her strawberry rhubarb pie with “helping hands as thoughts for those women.”

Judges of the Ms. Geneva Jackson Pie Baking Contest inspect the entries and pick their winners.

“We love our Clark County Farmers Market, it’s great support for our community. I made strawberry rhubarb pie can be part of that community,” Dodson said. “But mostly to support the Laurel Center, they’ve lost a bit of their funding and so we need to come alongside them and support the women that need their services.”

A number of the pies entered in the contest were then sold during the Clark County Farmer’s Market with the proceeds going directly to the Laurel Center. Executive Director Faith Power says the fundraiser could not come at a better time.

“We are in the middle of a financial crisis. We’ve had a significant grant part of the state level,” Power explained. “So, this support is always welcome but it’s particularly welcome right now based on what we’re going through.”

Ms. Jackson only agreed to establish the pie baking contest so long as it would benefit the Laurel Center as she says it is her heart.

For more information about the Laurel Center and the resources they provide, please visit their website.

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