More than three tonnes of pumpkins, grown and harvested by a group of disadvantaged young people in NSW’s New England region, will be turned into hundreds of cups of pumpkin soup for homeless men, women and children in Sydney on Wednesday, 15 April (Youth Homelessness Matters Day).
Pathfinders, a not for profit organisation that runs youth and women’s refuges and family support services from its base in Armidale, is partnering with OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue charity to cook and serve the soup across Sydney.
The pumpkins, a variety of Queensland Blue, Butternut and Jarrahdale, have been grown on Tilbuster Station, a property that was gifted to Pathfinders to support its youth programs. Young people, under the guidance and support of staff and volunteers, are learning agricultural and farming skills, and grow pumpkins, corn and potatoes, and breed cattle.
OzHarvest has embraced the 2015 Pumpkin Run and generously offered the use of its commercial kitchen and staff to work with the Pathfinders’ teenagers to make and distribute the soup.
The Pumpkin Run will start in Armidale on Monday 13 and make its way to Tamworth and Newcastle, where 1.5 ton of pumpkins will be dropped off to local charities before continuing to Sydney, where pumpkins will be distributed to inner city refuges and community organisations, as well as cooked for the needy.
CEO of Pathfinders, Alan Brennan, said many of the 60 young adults who worked on Tilbuster were homeless or disadvantaged, but valued 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 provides regarding the chance to learn a trade and grow fresh vegetables,” Mr Brennan said.
Ronni Kahn, Founder of OzHarvest, said she was delighted to be able to support the initiative, which aligned with OzHarvest’s Nourish and NEST programs.
“Nourish is a pathway to hospitality employment program, aimed at vulnerable youth between the ages of 16 – 25 years and NEST empowers people in need with the skills to make healthier food choices,” Ms Kahn said.
Children and young people under 25 make up nearly half of all homeless people in Australia. The most recent figures suggest that more than 44,000 people aged 0-25 are homeless.
Media/Photo Opportunities: Youth from Pathfinders and the team from OzHarvest will be cooking the pumpkins from 9.30am to 12pm at OzHarvest Warehouse G3/G4, 46-62 Maddox St, Alexandria. The soup will be distributed at Newtown Mission (King Street) from 1pm.
For further information please contact Nikki Cripps on 0407415493 or Louise Tran [email protected] 0466 620 744