SEATTLE — Sweet potato pies for survivors of domestic violence. That’s the mission of one determined woman from Tacoma who owns Blessings Catering Company.
Chef Delphia Brewton is a survivor herself. Now she and her team are baking gourmet pies to help victims pay rent or even buy a home, so they can get away from their abuser.
The sweet potato pies are so much more than just that — in multiple ways.
“It is grandmother-inspired, for sure. My grandmother was a chef, my grandfather was a chef in the Navy,” Brewton said.
Brewton grew up in Tacoma, but her grandmother is from Louisville, Kentucky.
“This is growin’ up eatin’. This is not just Thanksgiving for us, this is every day,” Brewton said.
But her sweet potato pies have diverged from Grandma’s — quite a bit, in fact. She describes it as two pies in one — a sweet potato cheesecake pie.
“Things come to me in a dream sometimes,” Brewton said. “And when I see it all come together — oh my gosh, this is amazing,” she said.
It starts with the buttery homemade crust, baked first. Then in goes the sweet potato filling, which all gets baked. A normal sweet potato pie might stop there, but once out of the oven, Brewton’s gets sprinkled with a pecan center.
The pie is chilled before Brewton delicately pipes on the sweet potato and cheesecake topping in varying designs and swirls. Then she adds the final accoutrements: pie crust cookie chunks on top, each piece coated in a decadent, sweet, spicy, and caramelly crumble.
“Not reinventing the wheel, just making it a little better,” Brewton said with a laugh.
The gourmet pies are currently $66.50 for a large pie or $15 for a mini.
“It’s a labor of love,” Brewton said. ”The whole process is literally about five hours,” she said.
But there’s something else special about these sweet potato pies. One hundred percent of the profits go toward helping survivors of abuse. (Pies can be ordered at Blessings Catering — more details on ordering and nationwide shipping options are at the end of this article.)
“These pies are near and dear to my heart. We call these Pies for Homes,” Brewton said. ”These pies are not just a labor of love in production, they’re also a labor of love in what they provide for other ladies,” she said.
The money raised through the pies goes toward rent, or even buying a house for domestic violence survivors, providing a safe place to live. It’s a need that Brewton knows too well.
“I am a survivor myself of 14 years of domestic violence. It was Oct. 23, 2013, that I almost died at the hands of my abuser,” she said. “Every time I’d leave my abuser, I’d go back to him because of the purse strings. He had all the money, the home, the cars. And I’d go back.”
She found her way out after becoming a private chef.
“Culinary became a therapeutic path for me, and not just to heal, but also to financial wealth,” she said.
In 2018, she started a catering company called Blessings from My Heart to Your Table, or Blessings Catering for short. But during the pandemic, business disappeared during the shutdown and domestic violence spiked.
“The door was being knocked on for Blessings. And we just couldn’t do anything,” Brewton said. Then she realized how she could help.
“I said, ‘You know what, these ladies need stability. They need homes. We need to be able to bridge the gap between homelessness, financial security, and abuse,’” Brewton said.
She turned the company into a nonprofit, also hiring exclusively survivors of abuse.
“It all came together. Like wow, this is why you were created! This is why you were created, ding, ding, ding,” Brewton said.
One woman who came on board didn’t want to show her face on camera for safety reasons, but still wanted to share her story.
“I’ve been tied up, I’ve been sat on the balcony, I’ve been put in the trunk. I’ve had a lot happen to me. And without this lady giving me a chance, God knows where I would be,” she said.
She met Brewton two years ago.
“I was in a shelter and she was hiring domestic violence survivors,” she said. “Being a survivor, I can honestly say she’s legit. She’s helped me a lot, rent … words of advice, encouragement, all of that,” she said.
Another woman who recently came on board is finding stability at Blessings Catering, and someone who gets it.
“A lot of people go through the same things, people don’t like speaking up about stuff,” said Dijonassie Rogers, who was helping with the pie process. “It is a force thing, it’s a manipulation game,” she said.
Now she’s also starting the journey of healing.
“Women are very strong, they’re capable of accomplishing a lot. We’re very underestimated,” Rogers said.
After the interview, Brewton gave Dijonassie a big hug. “I’m getting all teary,” Brewton said.
Brewton says so far, about 25 women have already come through her doors.
“I can help all ladies. But especially those who feel intimidated going to another organization that’s not led by a person of color,” she said.
You can help by using Blessings Catering, or simply by ordering a sweet potato pie.
“I tell these ladies we are here to help you heal holistically,” Brewton said. “Help them get to that point to say, ‘You know what, I really like to draw. I think I want to be a businesswoman. I want to go to school.’ I want them to be empowered to thrive financially on their own path,” she said.
HOW TO ORDER:
There are multiple ways to order a sweet potato pie. To have it shipped locally or nationwide, visit BlessingsCatering.org and click on the “Blessings Wholesale” tab. The pies are frozen, shrink-wrapped, packed in dry ice, and express-shipped anywhere in the U.S. The pie comes with instructions for defrosting and heating.
For local pickup from the Seattle Commissary Kitchen in South Seattle, click on the “order online” tab and there’s an option to pick up a pie when you check out. If you’re hoping to pick up in time for Thanksgiving, Brewton says to order two days in advance and you’ll be able to pick up a pie the same day.
People who live in Seattle can also order a small $15 pie (fresh, not frozen) through Uber Eats. You can find the pie under Delphia’s Cajun in the app.
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