THIS FACTORY CONTINUES TO FLOURISH
St. John the Evangelist church gets ready
for annual Christmas pudding production
by Helen Hall
November 2, 2017
It’s a bit of a dying art.
Fewer people take the time to create a homemade Christmas pudding these days, preferring more modern holiday desserts.
But if you have a hankering for a fruit pudding like Grandma used to make, I know who can help you out.
St. John the Evangelist Church is taking orders until November 5 for for its annual Christmas pudding fundraiser.
It’s the 69th year the “Pudding Factory” has got to work steaming puddings for the church’s largest annual fundraiser.
Volunteer Jennifer Uttley says the church uses a “secret recipe” brought to them by the late Mildred Robertson, who suggested the fundraiser when she joined the Anglican Church Women of St. John the Evangelist after moving to Kitchener from London, Ontario in 1945.
Since then, on the first Monday of every November since 1949, the upper and lower parish halls of the church, located on Water Street North in Kitchener, are transformed into the “Pudding Factory.”
According to the history of the event on the church’s website, making over 2,000 fruit puddings “isn’t quite as easy as it might seem.”
About 50 to 60 volunteers arrive each day and get dressed in aprons, hairnets and gloves. Ingredients are washed, measured and combined. Metal tins that once contained vegetables are washed and greased to be used as baking tins.
Once the dough has been created, it is measured into one, two and three pound tins.
They use their “most experienced volunteers” for the job of steaming the puddings, which takes three to four hours for each batch.
While the recipe hasn’t changed since 1949, other things have according to Uttley.
The first year they made 200 pounds of pudding and sold it for 50 cents a pound. This year’s goal is 2,200 pounds of pudding at $10 a pound.
Uttley handles the online email orders, and sends out reminders to past purchasers when the Pudding Factory is set to go into production. You can also order by phone by calling Wilma at 519-578-0175.
In person, orders can be placed at the Kitchener Farmers Market (Lower Level) on Saturday, November 4.
A portion of the money raised from pudding sales goes to a variety of local and national charities. This year, these include the Food Bank of Waterloo Region, Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington and FINCA Canada, an organization that helps people living in poverty – women in particular – build assets, create jobs, and raise their standard of living. In addition, puddings are donated to Meals on Wheels as a Christmas treat for their clients.
Uttley said the Pudding Factory is more than a fundraiser for the church. It builds community with volunteers from inside and outside the church.
“We involve as much of the parish as we can,” Uttley said. “It’s tiring, but it’s fun.”
If you miss the ordering deadline, there are extra puddings made that can be purchased after November 11.
For more information, check the church’s website at www.stjohn316.com.
Catherine Lowe and Marilyn Malton turn out the steamed Christmas puddings. Photo supplied by St. John the Evangelist Church
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