Annual pumpkin launch a smash hit for food bank

Mary Katherine Murphy Staff Writer

November 4, 2013

LAURINBURG — While an event that turns perfectly edible pumpkins into projectiles may sound like a waste of food to some, Trinity Presbyterian Church’s annual Punkin’ Chuck on Saturday raised more than $900 — plus a healthy serving of canned goods — for a Laurinburg food pantry.

Several hundred people attended the event for a strong dose of all things autumn, including live music, hayrides, a bake sale, and a dozen children’s activities.

“It just looked fun,” said Angela Bisbee as she watched her son Daniel grapple with the giant pumpkin-projecting sling that was the day’s centerpiece. “We’ve never chucked a pumpkin.”

Punkin’ chuckers aimed their orange ammunition at a set of targets a football field’s length away, earning a designated number of raffle tickets for each target hit.

“The punkin chuck is a lot of fun, just try not to split the pumpkins of course,” said 10 year-old Alex Garrigus, who proclaimed the punkin’ chuck his favorite game at the event. “I hit the red — it’s your favorite if you get the most tickets from it.”

Other games included pumpkin tic-tac-toe, ladder ball, miniature golf, pin the nose on the jack-o-lantern, and plinko. Gamers submitted their tickets for chances to win dozens of prizes donated by Scotland County businesses.

“It’s good to interact with the neighborhood and for us to let them know a little about Trinity,” said church member Denise Cummings.

With an admission fee of either $1 or one canned good, the event directed all of its proceeds to the Church and Community Services food bank, as it did in its three previous years.

“Anything we can get, we love it and we’ll take and we’ll use,” said Church and Community Services director Leslie Womack. “We are fortuante in this county that we have caring people who are willing to help.”

Fall events hosted by Trinity and other churches and organizations are helping to replenish the organization’s dwindling supply of available food, particularly fresher items.

“October was the first month this year that wer really struggled to obtain food,” she said. “We try not to give out a bag that doesn’t have meat and fruit and vegetables, but it’s the meat and fruit we have so much trouble getting.”

The food bank at Church and Community Services draws from regular and not-so-regular donations from churches, as well as donations from Campbell’s Soup and food sourced through the Restoring Hope Center.

“Churches give us food all the time, but when you put 10 cans together in a bag, if we give out 30 bags in a day, that’s 300 items,” said Womack. “Every little event helps.”