Blue Pumpkins

Photo by Byant Olsen (Flickr)

I love Fall…the cooler evenings, golden sunsets, and college football every Saturday! Where I live in Florida, the changes are a bit more subtle than the rest of the country, but the appearance of pumpkin patches are a definitive announcement of the season. Fields in front of churches, schools and farm stands suddenly “sprout” those heavy, orange squash, just begging to be carved into a scary faces and placed on a bales of hay by our front doors.

As I was driving around town and admiring a few freshly laid patches recently, I pondered the proceeds of this October purchasing tradition. Typically a nonprofit organizes and runs a sale and then uses the funds raised for their group’s activities. By itself, this seems reason enough to make my yearly pumpkin purchase from a local youth group or school instead of the grocery store.

Then I started to wonder, do any of these fundraisers take this yearly tradition a step further and designate their profits to benefit another person or organization in need? So home to Google I went…

And I found several stories…many churches use the funds to help local food pantries or to run their own food distribution ministries (excellent!)…but the story that really caught my eye is of an 8th grade Ohio student, Abby Pawlak. When Abby was age 10, she became concerned about other children who were experiencing abuse. Wanting to help out, she painted pumpkins blue-which is a reminder of the bruises abused children bare. After decorating the pumpkins with ribbons and cards of explanation, she sold the pumpkins and raised money for the Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center. Three years later, the sale is an anticipated fall tradition. Abby also sells t-shirts and candles along with the pumpkins. View a video of Abby at – then click to visit her website. 

Let’s shine the spotlight on Abby and give her a round of applause for helping us see that the colors of fall are not always golden. Sometimes we need to see a little blue to remember that not all people feel like appreciating sunsets.


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