‘I run a charity called Pathfinders in Armidale and we help kids who are really doing it rough – many of our kids have been removed from their families because of abuse and they’re highly traumatised. Every year we organise a “Pumpkin Run” where our young people grow pumpkins, cultivate them over a six month period and then harvest them.
‘This year we grew about 10 tonnes of pumpkins plus we got another 3 tonnes donated. That’s probably about 5,000 pumpkins in total.
‘We then transport them down to Sydney and give them away. It’s about giving away something to people who are in need, feeling good about doing that and not expecting anything in return.
‘There are many things the kids get out of it. I think it’s being engaged in something that’s purposeful. It’s also about belonging to something that’s meaningful, working in a team, seeing the joy on somebody’s face when they get a gift like that, being able to communicate with a whole lot of other adults who are great role models to them and serving people who are less well off than themselves. Plus they learn about agriculture.
‘It’s important for people to realise that there is always somebody worse off than themselves. There are a lot of people who are living in poverty. This food nourishes children and young people who are living in poverty. I think it’s important for people to be aware that there are a lot of people who are homeless that don’t have a decent meal on the table every day. Budgets are really stretched to the max.
‘I think we should be finding ways to engage kids in our society. If we don’t invest in kids now and engage them in meaningful activities then a huge generation are going to be lost – particularly these kids.’