A large crowd of supporters watched the Pathfinders’ team head off on the 2022 Pumpkin Run on Monday morning to deliver pumpkins and pumpkin soup to residents impacted by floods earlier this year.
Armidale deputy mayor, Todd Redwood, was on hand to wish the convoy all the best as they hit the road with nine tonnes of pumpkins.
The convoy will travel to the coastal communities of Taree, Kempsey, Coffs Harbour and Ballina, before its final stop back inland at Inverell.
Usually, the run would go down towards Newcastle and finish at Government House in Sydney, but this year the decision was made to head to towns where people have suffered from the natural disasters.
Two young men heading off on the journey, Tyler and Marshall, are no strangers to the pumpkin run or the work it supports.
Tyler was in out-of-home care with Pathfinders – and is now studying a Cert III in Agriculture and working with Pathfinders at Tilbuster Station.
This year is the fifth time he has joined the run, and he said the change of route, to visit places hit hard by floods over the past year was an opportunity to provide more help to communities.
Meanwhile, Marshall said it would also be a great experiences for the boys currently in out-of-home care who were joining the run this year.
“For these young fellas, it’s an opportunity to see places they have never been to before,” he said.
The pumpkin run began in 2014 to encourage community spirit among at-risk youth and help the homeless and others in need.
Most of the pumpkins are grown and harvested by young people in Pathfinders’ out-of-home care programs at Tilbuster Station, which was gifted to Pathfinders by a private benefactor whose wish was that the property be used for child and youth development and the support of families.
These young people will make and serve soup to homeless and disadvantaged people from the Mid North Coast to the Far North Coast on this year’s run.
Armidale Highway Patrol gave the nine-car convoy a police escort from Tilbuster Station all the way through town, as it departed on Monday morning, making the event even more special.
It also highlighted the support that the pumpkin run has from the local community.