Skip to content

Pie It Forward in Chinatown

People often complain about the state of the world. The economy isn’t great, and every day there is another tragedy in the news. What can the average Joe do to change any of that? Well, if you are Sarah Fertig and her team of self-proclaimed “weirdo do-gooders,” you bake pies and give them away for free.

It began in July 2012, when Sarah and her then-boyfriend Chris Kovac were baking and giving away free pie in Ann Arbor’s Liberty Plaza. Deep down Sarah, felt a push to take their message cross-country and reach more people.


Chris, Sarah, and Shalosh of Pie it Forward. Photo courtesy of Sarah Fertig
Chris, Sarah, and Shalosh of Pie it Forward.
(Courtesy of Sarah Fertig)

“We started giving away our pies in Ann Arbor last year from July till November” said Fertig. “We loved the mission so much we decided to quit our jobs and travel the country to bring the pies and the message to a wider audience.”

What’s the catch? Nothing in life is ever free, so there must be a hidden message or a political rant that goes with the pie, right?

“We believe being kind to each other and sharing should transcend groups and labels,” emphasized Fertig. “We’ll work with anyone, and we’ll share pie with anyone.”

The Pie it Forward” tour, which is entirely supported by donations, began in March in San Francisco and as of the last stop on Aug. 17, Fertig said they’ve baked 210 pies and served 1,470 people.

They have two events planned for this week in Washington, D.C. — one on Wednesday near the Chinatown Metro stop. The rainbow “FREE PIE” sign will be a tip off.

They also want to give away a dozen pies at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday during the March on Washington anniversary activities, but according to their blog, they still need a host kitchen Friday and Saturday.

While no strings are attached to the pie giveaway, they do accept donations of money, flour, sugar, and Crisco, among other things. The group — which consists of Fertig, her now-fiancee Kovac, their dog Shalosh, and friend Scott Graves — also need kitchen space. They live in their “Wagon house” along the way but don’t cook there, which means they must seek out host kitchens days before their scheduled pie stops. Fertig says the best way to reach them is via email:

Pie it Forward's
Pie it Forward’s “Wagon House” is the group’s traveling home.  (Courtesy of Sarah Fertig)

If it sounds too good to be true, just check out their “maniFEASTo“.

“The only thing we are interested in talking about is how often people ignore their neighbors, and wall themselves in with selfishness,” Fertig said. “We believe everyone has something of value to contribute, and we’re leading by example.

“We’re the most benevolent parasite ever,” continued Fertig, “We come into your house, take over your kitchen, bake a half dozen or so pies, leave a couple pies for you, and disappear into the wild blue yonder!”

Recent Stories

Summer COVID surge isn’t cause for alarm, experts say

At the Races: New guy on the ticket

Vance says Republicans are done ‘catering to Wall Street,’ puts financial policy in context of social issues

‘Took a bullet’: Lawmakers, delegates predict a Trump coronation in stark contrast to 2016 RNC

Biden backers dismiss party rift as ‘family discussions’

Capitol Lens | Republican National Convention, Day 3