Humble Pie

Here is the story of how a homemade, 10-inch, two crust apple pie raised almost $10,000 for mental healthcare at our hospital.

Sara Cinq-Mars is a loyal volunteer and champion of Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation.  Recently Sara was the Chair for our Harvesting Hope at the Farm fundraising gala – and before the big event she baked an apple pie to help calm her nerves and then decided to donate it to the live auction as a fun bonus item. The 10-inch, two-crust pie was lovingly made from hand-picked apples from the Macintosh tree in Sara’s backyard.

At the gala, in front of 450 guests, Sara unwound a powerful story about the impact mental health illness has had on her family – and the support they received from Queensway Carleton Hospital.  The room was quiet and still, in rapt attention.

Long after her story was done, it was not forgotten.  She later brought up her pie for the live auction – which inspired a bidding war, won by Sara’s dear friend Shelley Harrison who paid an outstanding $9,500.00 for the pie!

Sara is a champion for mental healthcare in our community, and when she’s not working or raising three children, she raises awareness for mental health by talking openly about her own family struggles. Sara has been voluntarily fundraising for Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation since the launch of the Hopes Rising campaign in 2016, working to raise funds for a renovated Mental Health Unit.

We are humbled that with so much taking place in Sara’s life, she still somehow found the time and strength to chair our gala, share her personal story, and bake an amazing apple pie, to support others who are going through similar challenges – because mental illness affects anyone.

Thank you Sara, and thank you to all our amazing supporters. Your generosity inspires us each and every day.


Sara’s Humble Apple Pie Recipe: 

10-inch two-crust pie:

  • 3/4+2Tbsp lard
  • 2&2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7-10Tbsp very cold water
  • Butter
  • Milk whole or half&half
  • Cinnamon & Sugar


  • Cut lard into flour and salt until crumbly and pea size.
  • Sprinkle in water, tossing until pastry “cleans the bowl”.
  • Gather pastry into two sections. Do not handle very much.
  • Onto a floured surface roll into round shape 2” larger than inverted pie plate using floured cloth-covered rolling pin.
  • Carefully fold pastry and place gently into plate.
  • Press into bottom and sides.


Apple filling:

  • Mix together:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp each nutmeg & cinnamon
  • Dash of salt
  • 7-12 thinly sliced/cut up apples (I use Macintosh apples only)


  • Add the apple filling to the pie
  • Top apple filling with 8 pats of butter.
  • Cover with remaining rolled out pie pastry.
  • Seal. Flute. Score.
  • Brush with milk/half & half.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar.
  • Bake at 425’ for 50 minutes -1 hour – until bubbly, keeping the edges covered loosely.
  • Cool on a rack.
  • Serve with real whipped cream or ice cream and enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Hopes Rising is a campaign to enhance and improve mental healthcare for a rapidly growing number of adults and families. It is a campaign inspired by the hopes of families throughout our community to enhance acute mental health services at QCH for adults of all ages. Funds raised will help deliver a renovated Mental Health Unit at QCH that supports hope, healing and recovery, and improved emergency care for people in the midst of a mental health crisis. To learn more or to make a donation visit:

If you, or someone you know, needs access to support you can visit and (or call 211) for resources on finding mental health services. If you are experiencing a crisis situation, please call the Mental Health Crisis Line (1-866-996-0991).