We associate pumpkins with Halloween. Whether you bake ’em, carve ’em, or light ’em outside your door to welcome oncoming trick-or-treaters, pumpkins are a Halloween classic. But for one elementary school, pumpkins have come to mean so much more.
Each year, the students and staff at Teague Elementary School band together for their annual pumpkin-decorating contest. Each homeroom teacher chooses a children’s book to read with the class. Then, they design a pumpkin based on one of the characters from the book. After each class has created their masterpiece, all of the pumpkins are displayed for a voting contest. Students and staff are asked to vote for their favorite creation by donating loose change or dollar bills into a jar. The heaviest jar wins – and each dollar bill is worth one pound. At the end of it all, the pumpkins and total dollars are donated back to the families at Ronald McDonald House (RMH) Houston.
“The first year we did it, we had 35 pumpkins. This year, we have over 100!” explains Lorie Morris, principal at Teague Elementary School and long-time front desk volunteer at RMH Houston. At first, it was just a school competition, but over the years this project evolved into something deeper – a chance for parents and students to do something artistic, creative, and fun together, for a good cause.
“When the kids start seeing the pumpkins, they want to go home and make one with their families, too,” said Lorie. Most people can relate to the mission of Ronald McDonald House – either they know someone with a child battling cancer or have used the House themselves. “It’s exciting for them to give back, our kids really love it,” she adds. This year, they donated nearly $2,500 towards a sponsorship for our Trafigura Run for House, along with 100 pumpkins to decorate the halls of our Holcombe House. And thanks to the incredible matching opportunity from our generous partners at the Trafigura Foundation, every gift made towards the run is matched dollar-for-dollar up to $300,000, bringing Teague’s total impact to $5,000 for our children and families!
Sometimes a seemingly small idea can turn into a great project with tremendous big impact. Have a creative fundraising idea of your own? We would love to hear more. Click here to learn how you can host a fundraiser for our families.