By Debbie Lee Imsande
“To whom much is given, much will be required.” (Luke 12:48)
“To whom much is given, much is expected” is a principle that mother and daughter duo Rita Fleenor and Lee Fleenor Acres take to heart. They truly love people and this community, so when they read the story of a Tennessee based pie shop franchise, it just felt like home! Opening Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop in April 2017, this business has become so much more than just selling “pie” for Lee, who has triplets, 2 of which are on the autism spectrum. Lee, a former educator, has passionately advocated for and helped start special schools in the area. Then God took her down an unexpected path… one that would give lifelong learning opportunities for her boys and would give them a future where they can work and socialize in a supportive environment.
When Ethan walks in the pie shop, it’s like a ray of sunshine followed him in… not a coincidence that his favorite pie is the “yellow” pie, what we call “Southern Buttermilk,” and is our signature pie. Brother Luke sits quietly in his mom’s office, which was she added to the original floorplan, especially for her children… and always enjoys it when some of the pies include cookies! Daughter Kathryn, enjoys special time here with her mom.
We have all heard the term “Pay it Forward,” right? In that spirit, our founders Scott and Meredith Layton created our “PIE IT FORWARD,” where each month a portion of proceeds from the sale of one of our pies is donated to a special organization in the community. Philanthropy and community giving are a huge part of Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop.
“If you give, you will receive back. Your gift will be returned to you in full measure, packed down and shaken to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure whatever is given back to you.”
Luke 6:38 (NLT)
This month is Disability Awareness month, and we are thrilled to partner with THE ARC OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, as our Pie It Forward recipient this month.
They will be hosting an event, March 10th, to promote abilities instead of disabilities and celebrating people of all abilities, where the experience, talents, and contributions of individuals, families, and communities are strengthened and supported. #absolutelyABLE
In that same spirit, Brother’s Keeper brought their program participants into the shop one afternoon! They greeted customers, ordered pie, watched us work, and both groups made new friends. We displayed handmade dog toys found in their ETSY store, and our customers were ”Bananas for BK” with the sales of our Banana Cream Pie!
We will host students from Morrison School in Bristol VA, next month for team building and social skills development through their prevocational program. A few of other recent partnerships include: Isaiah 117 House, Special Spaces Tri-Cities, Rise Up, WCQR Radio, Families Free/Woven, and Autism Society of America, ASA-ETC.
In addition to The Pie It Forward program, God has provided us with new ways to serve our community more than we could imagine. After 24 hours, we donate our “not so fresh pies” to local favorite, One Acre Café. They are then donated to Manna House. So, the giving continues. Friends at Tabernacle Mission Soup Kitchen in Greeneville, TN enjoy our pies, too.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20 Although our recipes are precisely calculated and methodically mixed, the opportunities to share pie and promote good through our pie shop are immeasurable. What we get back in relationship is more than we could have imagined. Our Pie it Forward program is not stingy with flavor, or with giving. As a good handmade pie crust is essential for a flavorful pie, our foundation is one based on giving back and sharing with others.
We would love to hear about more local non-profits & charities in our community. You can email your request via our website https://www.buttermilkskypie.com/pie-it-forward/contact/