Put the FUN back in FUNDRAISING: Carving Pumpkins for a Cause

It was a magical night, with the twinkle of tea lights in mason jars lining the table, knives and spoons covered in pumpkin goo, the smell of pumpkin seeds sprinkled in olive oil and rosemary roasting in the oven. As each pumpkin was carved into a jack-o-lantern, we lined them along the patio wall, placed a candle inside, and watched them come to life as the sun set, highlighting owls, skeletons, and a “pumpkin PI.”

Pumpkin Carving1

This weekend Action Kivu, the nonprofit I co-founded to support women & children in Congo, teamed with our Fair Trade partner, The Peace Exchange – Fair Trade Initiative, to host a fundraising carving party, asking for a suggested donation toward the one-time startup budget to launch a Fair Trade program for the grads of our sewing workshops. Inviting our L.A. friends to BYOK (bring your own knife), and we provided the pumpkins, wine, cheese, chocolate, and design templates to inspire ideas.

As people pondered the blank canvas of an untouched, orange gourd, a silence fell over the party. Knives were wielded with care (there was a strict “no hospital runs” policy, tricky when serving wine at said knife-filled party) and then everyone dove in, scooping the innards out, sawing out eyebrows and mustaches and toothy grins.

It was like we were kids again, willing to get a little gross for a good cause. Would you host a carving party for your favorite organization? Whole Foods in Sherman Oaks donated 6 pumpkins, and my Action Kivu partner Cate and I went and wiped out Trader Joes, packing home 24 more pumpkins!

cate cart o pumpkins

In July, I wrote about planting your own pumpkin patch, and the history of the jack-o-lantern. Autumn has arrived, with its shorter days and longer, darker nights. And Halloween is just around the corner! Did you grow your own pumpkin? Have you carved a lantern yet?  Let’s have a show & tell on Twitter! @TheCityFarm and @RebeccaSnavely.