Rooks County Health Center (RCH) raised a record $1700 for community food banks during the 4th annual Pumpkin Decorating contest held the week prior to Halloween. The departments within the hospital and Post Rock clinic each decorated individual pumpkins following this year’s theme of “Disney Characters”.
There were 12 entries this year. Coins or cash were used to place a vote or take away votes for a particular pumpkin. This display and voting went on for one week and the winning department was announced on Halloween. The winning pumpkin was entered by the Dietary Department. Proceeds from the event are donated to the Plainville and Stockton food pantries.
Both Stockton and Plainville food pantries received $850 in what turned out to be a very timely contribution. Acknowledging the importance of the cash donation, Larry Gosselin of the Stockton Food Bank stated “As of Nov. 8th our food pantry was out of food and we weren’t sure how we were going to meet the demands. The hospital’s donation could not have come at a better time. Thank you so very much”.
Creative pumpkin painters competed to produce the most intriguing, entertaining and/or scary rendition based on Disney characters. Entries included Mickey and Minnie Mouse as healthcare providers, Snow White and the 7 Dwarves, Nemo and the Genie. Karen Harris, RCH Director of Imaging is the contest coordinator.
According to Harris, voting for “Best Pumpkin” is open to everyone and conducted by donating cash for a favorite entry, but there’s a devious catch. Certain cash donations can be used to encourage the defeat of a rival pumpkin. Some cash donations are assigned a positive point value while some are assigned a negative point value.
“This was our fourth year, and every year’s contest has been well received and made for some friendly departmental competition. This in-house competition really accentuates the creative side of all departments involved. Staff has a great time decorating and doing some last minute sabotage voting!” said Harris.
The event is one of many that RCH staff use to engage and support the community. Next up is the annual Christmas basket competition, raising money to buy gifts for those children in the county who might need some extra cheer during the holidays.
This will mark the 7th year of the Christmas gift basket event. Each department donates their time and money for whatever they would like to put in their baskets. There are approx. 15-20 baskets every year. All baskets are taken to the annual RCH Christmas party. The drawings are done that evening. Prior to December 8 the public may purchase tickets to win the baskets on display in the RCH lobby.
Over $12,000 has been raised over the last 7 years with 100% of the proceeds going to buy Christmas gifts for children in Rooks County who might otherwise be going without that year.
Harris, who also coordinates the gift basket event, knows firsthand the effect of RCH staff efforts in charitable giving, saying “It is heartwarming to deliver these gifts and see the kids get so excited”.