Pumpkin Run – 2017

Helping the homeless with local produce

Underprivileged local residents had the chance to indulge in a warm meal and take home donated pumpkins as the Pathfinders Pumpkin Run came to their towns.

For the third time, Pathfinders Pumpkin Run has journeyed to Sydney to deliver tonnes of pumpkins to those in need. Usually these pumpkins are grown at Pathfinders Tilbuster Station working farm for young people, which is utilised as a venue to continue the work that Pathfinders does with at-risk youth and local families.

This year, however, things didn’t go as planned. Two lots of pumpkins planted by Pathfinders’ staff and young people perished from unprecedented weather conditions.

Instead of giving up on the Pumpkin Run and on helping those in need, Pathfinders called on the community to donate pumpkins for the charitable voyage.

Two months, thirty donors and six tonnes of pumpkins later, Pathfinders commenced the Pumpkin Run on Monday, June 26th with pumpkins loaded on a gooseneck, horse trailer, utes and buses. Staff and youth gave back to the local and broader communities by donating this produce to nursing homes, soup kitchens and other charities as well as cooking up hot meals for those in need.

Pathfinders’ team of staff and young people partnered with OzHarvest to prepare pumpkin soup before traveling to Newtown Mission and OzHarvest Market to serve lunch and distribute pumpkins to disadvantaged members of the community.

The Pumpkin Run finished at Government House for the second year in a row by the invitation of His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) on Thursday, June 29th.

Since its inception, the Pathfinders Pumpkin Run has delivered almost 20 tonnes of pumpkins, fed thousands of meals to men, women and children in need while also showing young people in their programs the nature of generosity in giving back.

Wednesday 28 June 20178.00am- 11.30amSydneyPreparation of pumpkin soup in OzHarvest  kitchens at G3/G4, 46-62 Maddox Street, Alexandria   Unload pumpkins for distribution from the gooseneck Distribution of pumpkins will be done by OzHarvest in their vans to organisations/charities/refuges
Wednesday 28 June 201711.30amSydneyPathfinders will transport soup to Newtown Mission, 280A King Street Newtown   Group 1 – Pathfinders depart to Newtown Mission Group 2 – Pathfinders depart to OzHarvest Markets (for approximately 1 hour then will re-join Group 1 at the Newtown Mission)
Wednesday 28 June 201712.00pmSydneyArrive at Newtown Mission and OzHarvest Marketplace and unload soup and pumpkins   Brief on duties, set up for dinner service, prayer Lunch offered

Day 1 : Leaving from Tilbuster Station

It was an early yet beautiful morning for staff and young people as we gathered at Tilbuster Station in Armidale to pack up the rest of the pumpkins for the Pumpkin Run. Pathfinders’ staff, young people and volunteers made pumpkin production lines to load the myriad of veggies into a ute, trailer and horse float. A few hours and few laughs later, the Pathfinders Pumpkin Run 2017 convoy was offiicially underway.

Despite blowing a tyre on the horse float a couple of hours into our journey, the team pulled together to get it fixed and made it to Newcastle safe and sound. The Pumpkin Runners filled their bellies with hearty food from the Ibis before getting some rest for Day 2 of the Pumpkin Run.

Here’s a peek into our Day 1 adventure:

Day 2 : stopping at Soul Cafe’ New Castle

The Pathfinders Pumpkin Run team had an awesome day in Newcastle!

With a trailer full of pumpkins, the team drove off to Soul Café Newcastle to donate veggies, make pumpkin soup and assist in serving lunch to those in need. Thanks to Bob from City Pharmacy, 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:

Day 3 : heading to the OzHarvest warehouse in Alexandria

The Pathfinders Pumpkin Run team had another eager, early morning as the staff and young people headed to the OzHarvest warehouse in Alexandria to unload pumpkins. A group of Pumpkin Runners put on their bright yellow OzHarvest aprons before heading into the kitchen to wash, peel, chop and prepare veggies for the pumpkin soup. The awesome chefs let our young people get right into the action, including them in every step of the soup making process. After the cooking, cleaning and photo opportunities were finished, half of our team went to OzHarvest Market and the other half to the Newtown Mission before joining forces at the 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 were able to take some well deserved time off exploring the Sydney Aquarium in the afternoon.

*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.

*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:

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