ROXBURY, N.J. - Apple Pie. Pumpkin Pie. Key Lime Pie. Lemon Meringue Pie. Caramel Apple Walnut Pie. Pecan Pie. Peach Praline Pie. French Silk Pie.
Your diet doesn't stand a chance in Roxbury, a town with a Rotary Club that makes it so easy each year to rationalize buying the pies mentioned above. Money raised in the Annual Roxbury Rotary Fruit and Pie Sale goes to some really good causes, after all.
The wily Rotarians do it just in time for Thanksgiving and they've been at it a long time.
"I think it's the 42nd year," said Rotarian Steve Alford. "I might be stretching that a little, but I know they've been doing it since long before I got in the club."
It's the organization's biggest fundraiser and it's very popular, not only with those who buy the pies and citrus fruit but also with Roxbury Social Services Department Director Janet Wald. Rotary donates some of the fundraiser's proceeds to Social Services and, each year, it orders extra fruit and pies that people can buy and give directly to the Roxbury Food Pantry, Alford said.
Then there's longtime Rotary supporter Tim Smith. "Every year for the past 10 years, Tim Smith has ordered 10 cases of fruit to just drop off at Social Services," Alford said. "Janet loves it. It comes during the same week they make up the Thanksgiving meals for the families."
This year's Fruit and Pie Sale has a couple of new twists, said Alford. The fruit will come from California, not Florida, and there will be middle school and high school students selling fruit to help raise money for Raising the Roof for Levi, an effort to help the Spencer family of Succasunna make their house more accessible for their 4-year-old son Levi, born with spina bifida.
The switch to Californian oranges, grapefruits and tangerines was made to avoid less-than-ideal specimens coming from Florida, where drought and a fungus has "besieged the fruit crop," Alford explained.
He's very excited about the involvement of Eisenhower Middle School students in this year's sale, something instigated by Eisenhower 8th-grader T.J. Mathis. With support from Eisenhower Middle School Principal Dominick Miller and teachers Marie Pessolano and Elizabeth Tucker, the school's Builder's Club (a middle school counterpart to the Kiwanis Club's high school arm called the Key Club) will work with Roxbury High School Interact Club members.
"They will be going out selling cases of fruit," said Alford. "For every case they sell, approximately $4 will go to Raising the Roof for Levi. As the fruit is unloaded Nov. 19, they will have their own section in front of the Roxbury Recreation Department where they will - true to their form - handle everything from collection of money to logging in cases of fruit to disbursement of fruit. It's a wonderful opportunity for them to learn leadership skills and be involved in a hands-on civic project."
Rotary expects to sell at least 900 cases of fruit and at least 200 pies. They will be distributed between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Horseshoe Lake parking lot on Eyland Avenue on Nov. 19.
Pies and fruit can be pre-ordered online. For more information call Roxbury Rotary President Gary Ribe at 973-219-4367.