Ruston is seeing orange.
But not because of the changing leaves.
The Townsend House has its ninth annual pumpkin patch, which donates proceeds to the nonprofit Domestic Abuse Resistance Team.
DART is the Ruston-based North Central Louisiana organization which helps to protect victims of domestic abuse.
Terrie Queen Autrey, community advocate for DART, said the proceeds help them cover expenses not paid for by grants they receive.
“The proceeds help someone moving out of an abusive home, furniture and clothing if they need it,” she said.
Last year, DART was able to help 726 people who were victims of abuse with money received from events like the pumpkin patch.
The pumpkins are loaded onto an 18-wheeler on a Native American reservation in New Mexico and driven to the Townsend House where the truck is unloaded by passing each pumpkin down an
line of volunteers.
Many of the volunteers who show up to unload the thousands of pumpkins are Louisiana Tech students.
Tech’s Baptist Collegiate Ministries is one of the organizations with volunteers.
Kathy Nelson, assistant director for the BCM, said she is a friend of Autry’s and referred to her as a “tireless worker” for DART’s cause.
“She asked if we had students wanting to help and we like to stay community-minded and do what we can,” Nelson said.
Kim Birch, owner of the Townsend House, also serves on the board for DART and said when she first bought the house she envisioned pumpkins all around it.
“It speaks volumes of what a success we have each year with the pumpkin patch to have held it for nine years,” she said.
Last year, Birch said due to so many volunteers they unloaded the truck in a record hour and a half which was half the time it usually took them.
“It touches me to look out on the day we unload and see all the volunteers we have,” she said. “It makes me teary-eyed.”
Birch said the pumpkins serve as a great attraction for people who like to take pictures with them and does not mind as long as they either buy one or make a donation to DART.
The pumpkins’ prices vary with their size.
Small pumpkins can be $.50 and some can reach up to $50.
“Our pumpkins are a better quality and go to an excellent cause to support,” she said.
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