Pumpkin Run – 2016

Day 1

Pumpkin Run Day 1 – Thank you to the Ability Links and FRS team in Tamworth for their great organisation of the stop in Tamworth at “The Youthie”. So many activities including table tennis competitions, rock painting and cupcake decorating just to name a few. Meals on Wheels Tamworth cooked the most delicious soup and many services came along to collect pumpkins. Thank you to all our staff who are not only driving, looking after young people and distributing pumpkins they are also recording the journey. All the video production is thanks to David Waugh, great work!

Day 2

A big day in Newcastle for the Pumpkin Run team. Collaborating with the Samaritans and Newcastle Ydo lead by Astrid Gearin they cooked meals at Soul Cafe Newcastle.

Soul Café serve hot meals free of charge to the disadvantaged of Newcastle. Soul Café is administered by LifeShapers Family Services, not government funded and rely on sponsorship, donations and fundraising. Soul Café serve around 130 people per day, 5 days per week and approx. 80 people breakfast 3 times per week. Not only does Soul Café serve meals but those in need can access other essential services including a clinic, legal aid, Mental health assessments, haircuts and much more.

All our young people got in and assisted in preparing and serving the meals, and what a menu it was! Entrée of pumpkin & apple soup, pumpkin salad for main course and dessert was none other than pumpkin pie! There was also some singing and dancing and a lot of fun had. Again many services collected pumpkins.

Day 3

Pumpkin Run Day 3 – Ready for another big day, the team unloaded the pumpkins at OzHarvest warehouse in Alexandria. 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. The team got right in to the kitchen to start cooking then it was off to the Newtown Mission. The Mission’s Community Care Centre opens for dinner on Thursday nights to feed the homeless and disadvantaged feeding 80-120 people.

Day 4

Pumpkin Run Day 4 – A rest day in the morning for the team and they headed to Bondi Beach for some R&R before their afternoon tea at Government House. The young people were lucky enough to meet the boys from Bondi Rescue TV show. His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley welcomed Pathfinders and invited guests to afternoon 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 FaCS, ACWA and many other organisations and partners. Afternoon tea was enjoyed by all invited with the menu including all things pumpkin including pumpkin cheesecake! The young people were shown around Government House by His Excellency himself and were taken by the view and interior design.

Helping the homeless

In its second year, Pathfinders Pumpkin Run has returned from Sydney having fed hundreds of homeless and the disadvantaged with their 4 tonne of pumpkins grown on Tilbuster Station in Armidale. The success of this delivery is made by the partnerships they have developed with other community organisations across New South Wales.

The pumpkin run in 2014 was received so well in Sydney we decided to plant more pumpkins this summer at our farm Tilbuster Station in Armidale. The weather was kind to us, so we yielded nearly 4 tonne of pumpkins and decided early that we could expand our generosity by also stopping in Tamworth and Newcastle to cook soup and deliver pumpkins to those in need.

We held our pumpkin run to coincide with Youth Homelessness Matters week. Our dedicated staff, young people and volunteers ban together to muster up resources to make it happen. The Friday before we left Armidale there were over 50 staff, volunteers and young people picking pumpkins and loading them into a staff members gooseneck trailer. The gooseneck, a ute and bus left Tilbuster Station on Monday morning loaded with the pumpkins, 8 staff and 8 young people all ready and willing to share the generosity of our pumpkins with the wider community.

In Tamworth, we stopped at our office on Bridge Street and with the assistance of the Tamworth Meals on Wheels service who prepared and cooked the soup for us, we were able to feed and deliver pumpkins to shelters, refuges and other community services. Our next stop was Newcastle, where cutting up our pumpkins and cooking started early at the Salvation Army Oasis Hunter in Newcastle. Our friends from OzHarvest, Rydon and Allambie Youth Services came to lend a hand to deliver pumpkins to other services across the Hunter. Exhausted, but excited by knowing we were making a difference, we travelled to Sydney where OzHarvest (the only food rescue organisation in Australia collecting quality excess food from commercial outlets and delivering it, direct and free of charge) embraced the 2015 Pumpkin Run and generously offered the use of its commercial kitchen and staff to work with Pathfinders to make and distribute the soup. We took the soup and pumpkins to Newtown Mission where we fed hundreds of homeless and disadvantaged and with the assistance of OzHarvest delivered pumpkins to many inner city refuges and community organisations.

The partnerships Pathfinders developed with other organisations over these three days are extremely valuable, as well as our young people experiencing the opportunity to help others, particularly homeless and vulnerable youth. They recognise that there are others who are less fortunate than themselves, who don’t have access to the benefits that Tilbuster Station provides. For our staff and direct care workers it is great to be part of an innovative and dynamic team who are not afraid to go the extra mile to raise awareness of community issues that impact on so many people.

Pathfinders wishes to thank our volunteers, staff, young people, partners and community organisations for their assistance in making the 2015 Pumpkin Run a resounding success. Bring on 2016!

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