When GleanKY contacted 2018 Rogers Scholar Slayde Sizemore about gleaning pumpkins left in the field after the seasonal harvest, he knew it was one way he could help fight hunger in Breathitt County.
Sizemore, a graduate of The Center for Rural Development’s Rogers Scholars program and high school junior at Jackson Independent, decided to harvest and donate the leftover pumpkins to families and children in his community.
“These pumpkins were left over and not used during the Halloween season and were going to go to waste,” Sizemore said. “I reached out to churches in my community, a local homeless shelter, and a private Christian school in my county. I coordinated on where I would deliver the pumpkins for each group. They used the pumpkins to make various food items, such as pumpkin pie and pumpkin puree.”
The GleanKY Pumpkin Project was coordinated through GleanKY, a nonprofit organization that gathers and redistributes excess fruits and vegetables to nourish Kentucky’s hungry. Sizemore harvested the pumpkins at the University of Kentucky substation at Quicksand, Ky., in Jackson County.
“From start to end, this project truly made me have an amazing feeling inside,” said Sizemore. “Doing something to help out my community, with the possibility to change lives, was an extremely joyful experience.”
The Rogers Scholars community service project served approximately 150 people and put to use a farm grown product that otherwise would have gone to waste.
“We are thankful the pumpkins are not going to waste and will be used to feed others,” said a member of the University of Kentucky agricultural staff.
“The feeling I had while doing this community service project made me want to participate even more and get involved in my community to make a positive impact in it,” said Sizemore.
Sizemore is the son of Wayne and Andrus Sizemore.