2018 has been another fantastic year for Pathfinder’s Pumpkin Run. More than 200 people have been involved in this year’s Pumpkin Run – from volunteers for planning, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, loading and packing, cooking and encouraging it has been a true community effort. We also had 3 tonnes of pumpkins donated by our communities in the New England towards the Run: Making a grand total of 13 tonnes!
And now after some hard work, and a lot of fun, we can look back on the 2018 Pumpkin Run:
Sleet embraced rain drops made for a chilly New England morning at Tilbuster Station. The Pumpkin Runners, now wide awake after breathing in the crisp, cold air, make ready for the Run’s first stop in Tamworth. Local State Member, Adam Marshall and Armidale Mayor, Simon Murray appeared from the morning frost to wish us good luck for the journey ahead. This year, our local police – specifically Senior Constable Dave Hodson and Acting Sergeant Ray Cordell – gave us a ‘police escort’ out of town; a single highway patrol vehicle ensuring our three ute and 20 foot gooseneck trailers made it safely onto the wet New England highway.
Once in Tamworth, we navigated straight to The Youthie where the kitchens were already prepared by Pathfinders teams. It was a great first delivery, with mildly spiced pumpkin soup and good company to warm the body and spirits as we made the final day’s trip to Newcastle!
It was just on dusk when we made it to Newcastle safe and sound. The Pumpkin Runners filled their bellies with hearty food from the Ibis Hotel before getting some rest for Day 2 of the Pumpkin Run.
* Tamworth Regional Youth Centre (TRYC) is a purpose-built facility that provides young people across the Tamworth Region access to a range of facilities, programs, including a drop-in service run by The Youthie that is aimed at 12 to 18 year olds. The Tamworth Regional Youth Centre is also home to the The Regional Youth Interagency Group an information share and networking meeting for agencies and service providers within the region.
Here’s a peek into our Day 1 adventure:
The Pumpkin Run Team had a wet and awesome time in Newcastle! Did we mention it was wet?
With a trailer full of pumpkins and rainy clouds over our heads we met our friends at Soul Café in Newcastle. They let our wet and cold gaggle of Pumpkin Runners into their premises and helped us cook and serve meals for people in their care.
Pathfinders was able to set up a bright orange tent outside to give free pumpkins, bags and shirts to people passing by. Both staff and kids had great conversations with people eating Soul Café’s free meals and those walking by on the street. Before packing up our goodies to head to Sydney, we donated a van full of pumpkins to OzHarvest in Newcastle.
*Soul Café was established in August 2003 to serve hot meals free of charge to the highly disadvantaged of the Newcastle region. Today Soul Cafe provides hundreds of free sit down and take-away meals each week. Many of Soul Cafe’s guests are dealing with issues of homelessness, drug or alcohol addiction, crime or violence, poverty, separation, mental health or illness concerns and accommodation needs. As such the meals provided are an avenue to link cafe guests with other necessary services including drug and alcohol and substance abuse programs, accommodation links, Centrelink referral, mental health counselling, refuge referral, haircuts, Legal Aid, Podiatry and a free doctor’s clinic.
Here’s a look into the trip down to Newcastle and our Day 2 adventures:
The Pumpkin Run team joined forces with Newtown Mission to serve lunch to those in need. The young people worked incredibly hard all day to prepare, clean and serve food to others and give away pumpkins to people on the street. After Newtown mission, the Pumpkin Runners headed to the OzHarvest warehouse in Alexandria to unload the remaining 6 and a half tonnes of pumpkins.
* Newtown Mission helps people with meals, referrals, medical appointments, support in filling out forms and a legal clinic. The Jordan Café is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays from 1-3pm and on Thursday nights from 6-8pm with soft lights, live music and a home cooked meal served by local volunteers.
Check out our Day 3 video below:
In the morning, OzHarvest’s Ronni Kahn and her staff greeted us and opened their doors to teach the Team how to peel, cut and cook the soup that feeds thousands across the State. Pumpkin Runners were given bright yellow OzHarvest aprons before heading into the kitchen, and the awesome chefs let our young people get right into the action, including them in every step of the soup making process. The young people were also lucky enough to meet the Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby, who were filming at OzHarvest for the day!
That evening his Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley welcomed the Pumpkin Runners and invited guests to tea at Government House. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for our young people and they were well received at Government House. Pathfinders were supported by their Board members and Patron, The Honourable James Wood as well as staff and invited guests from many other organisations and partners. The tea was enjoyed by all with the menu including all things pumpkin, including pumpkin cheesecake! The young people were shown around Government House by His Excellency’s wife, Mrs Hurley.
Mrs Hurley guided our young people to a lift, then up some stairs… then up some more stairs, until finally, they had reached the top of the watch tower… above Government House! The view above Government House was incredible, and the young people were ecstatic to see iconic sites like the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge from such a unique view.
*OzHarvest is the first perishable food rescue organisation in Australia collecting quality excess food from commercial outlets and delivering it, direct and free of charge, to 800 charities providing much needed assistance to vulnerable men, women and children across Australia.
This year we have directly fed more than 500 people in Tamworth, Newcastle and Sydney. And through OzHarvest our pumpkins will reach a further 8,000 people who are in need.