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Contest brings in 160 pies for homeless
Winner credits canned pumpkin recipe
pie contest
A group of five judges joined chiropractor Dave Dubyak for his 18th annual pumpkin pie contest, which brought in over 160 pies to be donated to the homeless through the United Samaritans Foundation on Thanksgiving Day. - photo by CARA HALLAM / The Journal

Over the past 18 years, local chiropractor Dave Dubyak has been helping feed the homeless through his annual pumpkin pie contest.

Bringing in over 160 pumpkin pies, the delicious desserts will be donated to the United Samaritans food trucks that pass out the pies to the homeless during their Thanksgiving lunch every year.

Twenty-six of the 160 pies were judged by local ‘taste-testers’, on a scale of zero to five for the following categories: taste and texture of the crust, taste and texture of the filling, and overall appearance.

This year’s taste testers included California State University, Stanislaus President Joseph Sheley, Director of the United Samaritans Foundation Barbara Bawanan, Modesto architect Michael Pratt, City of Modesto Community Development Program Specialist Hugo Ramirez, and Stanislaus Community Foundation CEO Marian Kaanon.

“The great thing is that Turlock comes together to actually make the dessert for this meal, which is pretty cool,” said Dubyak. “Each contestant submits two pies, and then we also accept donations from local organizations. We received a lot this year.”

With 163 pies in total, donations came from several community organizations including Mountain View 4-H, Girl Scout troops 15 and 4272, Chatom 4-H, and Ceres High School. With students helping to bake the pies, Ceres High School was able to donate 40 pies alone.

“We celebrate the fact that people in the community participate in this,” said Pratt, as he judged the pies during the contest.

With 26 pies being judged, some of the bakers got pretty creative with their recipes with some pies including ingredients such as espresso and cocoa beans, apples, molasses, toasted coconut topping and cheesecake.

After tasting all 26 pies, the judges made the final decision. First place went to Turlock resident Rina Tury, who participated and won the contest four years ago.

“What’s funny is that I just use the recipe right off the Libby’s pumpkin can,” said Tury. “It’s the recipe that my family has always loved, so it’s incredible that it won the whole contest.”

Tury, who said that she will continue to enter the contest in the future, says she believes in the cause of the contest.

“I think it’s a really good cause,” said Tury. “It only takes a couple of hours to do, and someone gets a nice Thanksgiving out of it. I do plan on doing it again next year.”

As first place winner, Tury was awarded $100 which she asked Dubyak to donate to the United Samaritans Foundation. The second place winner, earning $50, was Annie Guyer.

“Over the past 18 years, we’ve only skipped one year and that was in 2000,” said Dubyak about the contest. “It’s just something that we really enjoy doing.”