SCE Helps Give the Gift of Sweet Potato Pies

Kitchen Food Ventures, a Long Beach nonprofit, uses SCE’s Food Technology Center kitchen to bake holiday pies for homeless families.
Skip to content
Stories : Giving Back
Stories : Giving Back

SCE Helps Give the Gift of Sweet Potato Pies

Kitchen Food Ventures, a Long Beach nonprofit, uses SCE’s Food Technology Center kitchen to bake holiday pies for homeless families.
Photo Credit: Randall Creasey

Cherie Beasley’s recipe for sweet potato pies is easy — first you start with 400 pounds of fresh yams. That’s how much she needed to make pies for 84 homeless families for Christmas this year.

To make all those pies — dozens of 9-inch pies and hundreds of tartlets — Beasley needed a big kitchen. That’s where Southern California Edison stepped in.

Cherie Beasley (right) and two volunteers prepare hundreds of tartlets to give to homeless families.
Cherie Beasley (right) and two volunteers, Karen Grimes and Dennis Brandow, prepare hundreds of tartlets to give to homeless families.

Andre Saldivar, a senior advisor at SCE’s newly remodeled Foodservice Technology Center, offered the center’s kitchen and commercial convection ovens for Beasley to prepare her pies.

Normally the center’s kitchen is used for demonstrations of the latest energy-efficient cooking equipment and for chefs and the food industry to test recipes. But at this time of year, the staff makes time in the schedule for nonprofits like Beasley’s Kitchen Food Ventures to use it.

“It’s part of SCE’s customer service effort to give back to our communities,” said Saldivar.

Cherie Beasley scrapes the sides of the container to get all the sweet potato pie filling.
Cherie Beasley scrapes the sides of the container to get all the sweet potato pie filling.

Beasley has been using the center’s kitchen for about seven years, making hundreds of her signature sweet potato pies and tartlets for needy families at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

She prepares and freezes the custard sweet potato filling in her own kitchen in Long Beach. On her first day at the Foodservice Technology Center, she makes and bakes the hundreds of pie and tartlet shells.

Two volunteers, Karen Grimes and Dennis Brandow, join her the next day, filling and baking the pies while occasionally singing along with the Christmas music playing in the background.

Sweet potato tartlets are readied for the oven.
Sweet potato tartlets are readied for the oven.

Working with the New Image Emergency Shelter in Los Angeles over the Christmas weekend, Beasley will distribute one 9-inch pie and a dozen tartlets to each needy family.

“It’s all about being thankful to be blessed to be able to give back this blessing,” Beasley said.