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Meat pies in the sky

For more than 20 years the women of the First United Methodist Church have been tempting taste buds with runzas.

Runzas are meat pies, the recipe for which is believed to have originated in Kansas and brought to Picayune by Betty Wise. About 1981 the members of the church began preparing the small meat pies for sale, take out or special order, said Sue Worthey. Homemade sweet pies were also sold with the meat pies but an abundance of take out orders prompted the women to focus on orders only.

“So we stopped serving people,” Worthey said.

The yearly event takes place at about the same time each year, but last year Hurricane Katrina kept the group from making the pies.

Profits from the sale of the Runzas are used as donations to Christian Care, Habitat for Humanity, Transient Fund, Seashore Mission, Moore Community House, Child Abuse Council and the Wesley Foundations at Mississippi State and Columbus, said Carolyn Purvis.

Over the four-day period of runza making, the women plan to make 400 a day for a total of 1,600 of the pies. The process of making the pies is all homemade, right down to the dough. To make the filling for the pies the women will use a case of cabbage, 37 pounds of pork sausage, 148 pounds of ground beef, some spices to make them more southern friendly and 50 pounds of onions.

“We don’t even get to sample them,” Purvis said.

Orders for the pies began being taken on Monday and can be placed by calling 601-798-4321. The pies will be ready for pickup starting at noon Thursday, Oct. 19 and continue through Tuesday, Oct. 24 at the Family Life Center located at 416 N. Haugh Ave.

“They can find us by the smell,” Worthey said.

No orders will be taken on Oct. 24.

The pies are perfect for snacks or light meals and can be frozen. Each pie will be wrapped in foil so they can be reheated.