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Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Pathfinder’s annual pumpkin run is ready to roll for its 10th year.

The organisation’s young participants have been eagerly growing their pumpkins for this year’s charity drive, managing to harvest 10 tonnes of healthy, fresh pumpkins that have been packed and sorted, ready to be delivered to community groups, charities, and soup kitchens in Armidale, Taree, Newcastle, Coffs Harbour and Sydney from Monday, May 27.

“This year we’re doing it slightly differently,” said Anthony Simmons, Resources Coordinator at Tilbuster Station, Armidale.

“We are going across to Coffs Harbour and Taree, and down to Newcastle.”

And this year, the run if more important than ever.

“Each year there’s always a need for the pumpkin run and in particular this year there’s been even a larger increase in the meals being provided by various soup kitchens with the rising cost of living, pushing more and more families to seek support and food relief,” said Courtney Pay, National Director of Child Youth and Family with Pathfinders.

As part of this year’s initiative, our young people will be engaging in cooking activities, and preparing over 500 meals for those in need throughout the run.

“We are going to deliver some soup to support Inverell’s Food for Soul, which is our soup kitchen that runs every Wednesday night,” said Courtney.

“And then drop some to Uralla and Armidale, along our way, really trying to extend our reach this year.”

So, why pumpkins?

“I do believe the humble pumpkin was an idea that was born from one of the young persons in care who asked the CEO, Alan Brennan, and ran the idea past him of us trying to grow something and share something with those less fortunate, so I think that’s how it kind of started off.” said Anthony.

“The pumpkin program itself has got to be one of the most effective ways of working with young people, and it’s so effective to be able to give back to those, also in a very similar position, but it really is great.”

The program also plays into Tilbuster’s past, and delivering on a decade-long promise.

“Tilbuster Station was gifted to Pathfinders over a decade ago by Dr. Marie Delaney, whose wish was that the property be utilised to support vulnerable young people in the community and their families,” said Courtney.

“We really hope that we are doing that justice, and the Pathfinder’s pumpkin run is something that Pathfinders takes a lot of pride in.”

The official send-off event will take place tomorrow, Monday, 27 May 2024, at Tilbuster Station, located at 11312 New England Hwy, Armidale.

The team will be meeting at Tilbuster Station in the morning to cook and prepare soup from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm which will be then donated to the Armidale Neighbourhood Centre.

The official send-off ceremony will commence this year at 12:30 pm, we will be waving the young people off at 1:00 pm.

The community is invited to come along for the official send off and cheer on the young participants.

“We have extended invitations out to the local councils and we’ll have a police escort when we leave on Monday, our local politicians, but absolutely would love the community to come out, check out our farm, but also to have a chat to our young people and wish them well on their way,” said Courtney.

Important dates

Monday, 27 May 2024 – Tilbuster Station, 11312 New England Hwy, Armidale
• 9:00 am Staff and young people will meet at Tilbuster Station
• 9:00 am -12:00 pm Cooking pumpkin soup and preparing pumpkins for distribution to Uralla.
• 1:00 pm Official send-off for the Pumpkin Run
• Depart Tilbuster Station Armidale for Coffs Harbour (Police escort)

Tuesday, 28 May 2024 – Coffs Harbour Uniting Church, 19A Gordon Street, Coffs Harbour
• 9:00 am – 12:00 pm Arrive, young people to cook soup for lunch.
• Prepare pumpkins for distribution at the local neighbourhood centre.
• 1:00 pm Travel to Taree

Wednesday, 29 May 2024 – Taree Community Kitchen, 250 Victoria Street, Taree
• 9:00 am Prepare pumpkin soup at Taree Community Kitchen
• 2:00 pm Travel to Newcastle

Monday, 3 June – Government House Sydney
• 10:00 am Morning tea for young people and staff at Government House


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