The Tri-State's first ever "Pie-K" brought hundreds of people to Spring Grove Cemetery to walk or run a 5K while raising money for Meals on Wheels.
Meals on Wheels feeds more than 10,000 seniors in the Greater Cincinnati region and after demand for the service spiked dramatically in 2020, fundraising events like Sunday's 5K are more crucial than ever.
"At the beginning of the pandemic, demand for our services tripled overnight," said Jennifer Steele, CEO of Meals on Wheels Southwest OH & Northern KY.
The local branch of the organization is still serving roughly double what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
"The senior population has been growing exceptionally and is going to continue to, but COVID really exacerbated, I think, a lot of the problems that already existed in our community," said Steele.
Participants racing toward pie at the finish line is just the start of a larger fundraising effort called "Bust a Crust." Starting in October, people can order a pie and donate the cost to Meals on Wheels.
"That $25 purchase equals a week's worth of meals for a local senior," said Steele.
Meals on Wheels hopes to raise $150,000 to support the still-growing need for its services. They've raised more than $100,000 already, before the pie sales have even begun.
For those who took part, the flaky, delicious reward at the finish line was only part of the reason they spent Sunday trekking through Spring Grove.
"There's a lot of elderly people that are struggling right now, so it's nice to be able to at least help them out a bit," said Karla Schlageck, who walked the 5K.