PATHFINDERS Pumpkin Run came to Coffs earlier in the month hosting a soup kitchen at the Uniting Church in Gordon Street for families in need.
The Pumpkin Run project pairs two parts of the not-for-profit Pathfinders’ vision: community engagement and assisting every individual to become a valued and contributing member within the communities in which they live.
“The pumpkins are grown on our Tilbuster Station farm in Armidale by young, disadvantaged people in our care, loaded into vehicles and then transported to identified locations where we feel we can make a difference,” said, Alan Brennan, Pathfinders CEO.
Five tonnes of pumpkins were donated and purchased with support from businesses and community groups including a pallet load from Coles in Coffs Harbour. R & R Care Coffs Harbour made a donation to help Pathfinders purchase extra pumpkins.
“This is the first time we will have taken the Pumpkin Run up the east coast and it will be a valuable experience for our young people to be able to support those communities who are still suffering from the impacts of flood, drought, fire and the pandemic.
“Along the way our young people will understand the importance of helping others without expecting anything in return, develop interpersonal and team-building skills, strengthen community connections and learn how to make a mean pumpkin soup,” he said.
Toni Ribeiro from Pathfinders told News Of The Area, “Pathfinders Pumpkin Run team arrived in Coffs Harbour and set up at 9:30am.
“It was a lovely atmosphere setting up for the day; the young people knew what they needed to do and worked together as a team to get everything organised.”
Donning their aprons, they all worked really well as a team, “helping each other out and having a laugh or two along the way” added Toni.
“The staff and team at the Uniting Church were so welcoming and made our young people feel welcomed and supported. “It was a hive of activity; the hall was full of busy people with community members dropping in to see the young people in action cutting up all the pumpkins and onions.
“Liz and Kellie from R&R Care Coffs Harbour joined us for the day to assist.”
Tegan Baker Youth Liaison Officer and Kevin Wilson the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer from Coffs Harbour also dropped in to meet the young kids and support them for the morning.
Together everyone prepared lunch – pumpkin soup and bread croutons and served up at 12:30pm.
“We provided 45 meals to the community. The team also walked the streets around Coffs handing out pumpkins.”
One of the Pathfinders young people had never been to the coast or Coffs Harbour before and was so excited to see the beach.
Also provided on the day was the Pathfinders National Aboriginal Birth Certificate (PNABC) Program where Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people can apply for their birth certificate.
Alan Brennan said Aboriginal people were underrepresented in birth registration and without a birth certificate they are unable to fully participate in society.
“Without a birth certificate you cannot enrol in school or sport, gain a driver’s licence, vote, access government services, apply for a tax file number or open a bank account. In many ways, without a birth certificate you are invisible.
– Reporter Andrea Ferrari