For the seventh year in a row, volunteers helped unload truck loads filled with thousands of pumpkins into the front lawn of Highland Park United Methodist Church.
This year, more than 30 volunteers unloaded and set up the wide variety of pumpkins and gourds the church and the Stillwater Noon Lions Club had ordered. They teamed up to help bring money to the local church, school and food pantries.
Among the list of those they wanted to help included Our Daily Bread, vision screenings for children in need, Highland Park Elementary School and much more. They sourced their pumpkins from Pumpkins USA, a distributor that gets pumpkins from a Navajo Reservation in Farmington, New Mexico, and distributes them to fundraisers all across the US
The Highland Park United Church and Stillwater Noon Lions Club were able to supply some of their own volunteers to help but knew that they would need more help than they had to get through the season. That’s when Richard Dawkins, the coordinator of volunteers at the Stillwater Noon Lions Club, sought help from OSU’s student population.
Quickly, the Oklahoma State University Student Volunteering Center took up the job. The center was able to make and publish a volunteering event for the pumpkin patch, being one of the first events students saw at the beginning of the year.
Many students at OSU have scholarships that require varying amounts of volunteer hours throughout the semester or school year. One student volunteer, Kaisha, spoke with The O’Colly as she worked the past two Saturdays at the pumpkin patch.
“I needed hours for my Cherokee scholarship,” Kaisha said. “And me and my friend Mercedez decided to both work at this patch together.”
Kaisha and Mercedez weren’t part of the volunteers that helped unload the pumpkins, but they did work around the patch, inspecting the pumpkins, helping measure and transport the pumpkins for certain customers and answer and assist those who needed help across the patch.
Just from working the two Saturdays, they were both able to get 16 volunteer hours. Dawkins spoke with The O’Colly about how he has seen more OSU students volunteering this year than in the previous years.
“It has been a real big help for us,” he said.
The pumpkin patch is not over yet and expects another refill on Oct. 14. The patch is open every day up to and including Halloween. The hours are Mondays to Fridays from 5 to 7 pm, Saturdays from 10 am to 8 pm and Sundays from noon to 6 pm
They are hosting various events throughout the month as well, such as a cornhole tournament Sunday at 2 pm, vision screenings, a kid’s carnival and carriage rides on Oct. 23 until 5 pm, a pumpkin catapult Oct. 29 from 4 to 6 pm and a trick or treat event, as well as a raffle drawing on Halloween. The patch is located at 524 N. Stallard St.
The patch is also still in need of volunteers and is happy to accept more OSU students to help out. If you are interested in volunteering, not only for the patch but for anything around campus, please visit the Oklahoma State University Student Volunteer Center online at campuslink.okstate.edu/organization/studentvolunteercenter or visit lcl.okstate.edu/volunteer and clicking on ‘volunteer opportunities.’