Rose McGee and a group of volunteers distributed several pies at the memorial site for George Floyd

By Georgia Slater
June 09, 2020 01:20 PM
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Sweet Potato Comfort Pies

Minneapolis resident Rose McGee is using her love for baking to bring her grieving community together.

As cities across the country continue to mourn George Floyd and protest against the ongoing police brutality in the nation, McGee is using her famous Sweet Potato Comfort Pies to unify her own community and console those in need.

On June 1, McGee and a group of volunteers took to Floyd's memorial site in Minneapolis to hand out several boxes of her Comfort Pies, which McGee calls a "sacred dessert of Black culture," she told HuffPost.

"They link us to our history, they soothe our souls and they renew us for the work ahead,” she said of the pies.

Each pie came packaged with a poem, written by McGee's daughter Roslyn Harmon, to praise those in the community who are trying to make a difference.

"Remember to eat, pray and love as you partake in making a difference, for there is much to be proud of," read part of the poem.

Those who worked with McGee to distribute the pies said it was a successful experience, with one volunteer calling it "transformative."

Sweet Potato Comfort Pies

"Rose serves as a beacon of hope for those in pain and her pies are an expression of love," volunteer Hannah Carney told HuffPost. "They bring power to those who accept them. The entire experience connects and strengthens our community.”

"I have never handed a pie to someone without getting a smile back," Andrena Seawood, another volunteer, added. "I think we blessed some people there, so they can go forth and be a blessing. After all, food is love.”

The idea behind the comfort pie began in the summer of 2014 after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

“I sat in my living room, watching the news, and I saw the hopelessness on the faces of the people there,” McGee told the outlet. “I knew that I needed to do something. Right then, the Lord spoke to me: ‘Get up and bake some pies and take them down there.’”

The next day, McGee traveled more than 500 miles to deliver 30 sweet potato pies to people in Ferguson. She went on to do the same in her home state after the shootings of Jamar Clark in 2015 and Philando Castile in 2016.

"Time after time, I would hear that this pie had arrived in someone’s life at exactly the right time, when it was most needed," she said.

McGee added, "When you think about pie, it’s not essential, but when you think about how it makes you feel, maybe it is.”

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
  • ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
  • National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.