The 2023 Pumpkin Run commenced on July 3rd at Tilbuster Station with an official send-off. The dedicated team, comprising of volunteers, young people and staff, embarked on their 600km journey along the New England Hwy, with a local police escort leading the convoy out of town.
In attendance was Deputy Mayor Todd Redwood, who extended his congratulations to the Pumpkin Run team for successfully growing an impressive 15 tons of pumpkins. He also expressed his well-wishes to the team before they set off on their adventure, which included scheduled stops in Tamworth, Newcastle, and Sydney.
“Well done everyone, it’s an amazing effort. I first became involved in the Pumpkin Run last year and it was a bit of a short hall last year, compared to this year’s record 15 tons. This means that this year you as an organisation are sharing so much more, I think the generosity that you have shown and will show throughout the region is incredible, it makes us very proud [Armidale Council] so, thank you very much,” said Mr Redwood.
Pathfinders CEO, Alan Brennan said “We thank you all for your efforts, and commitment to the Pumpkin Run, it’s a very unique program that involves a lot of young people, in a really meaningful and purposeful activity. During the Pumpkin Run, we learn a lot, not just about pumpkins, but about ourselves along the way. I’m pleased to see such a large team here today, volunteering to help our communities, thank you all and I wish you all well on the journey ahead and thank you also to the Armidale police for your time and for providing us with a special escort out of Armidale here today.”
The Pumpkin Run team’s first destination for the day was Tamworth, where the team distributed pumpkins to local charities and community organisations focused on providing meals and support to vulnerable community members. The Cornerstone Church, Soup Kitchen at the Coaldale Community Centre, and the Tamworth Family Support Service were among the many local recipients.
The team set up at the Tamworth Base Hospital, and handed out pumpkins in conjunction with the Tamworth NAIDOC committee’s official Flag raising events, marking the beginning of a week-long celebration of local NAIDOC festivities in Tamworth. The team generously distributed hundreds of pumpkins to the community, along with complimentary hats and t-shirts.