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It’s the Great Pumpkin Donation

October 19, 2016

By Rob G. Zakula Jr.

Airway Heights Corrections Center

Inmates putting pumpkins in a wooden pallet outside

Inmates in the Garden Program at Airway Heights Corrections Center (Photo courtesy of Ann Wise, Community Partnership Program Coordinator at AHCC) See photo gallery...

AIRWAY HEIGHTS - On a Thursday morning in mid-October, staff and inmates at Airway Heights Corrections Center (AHCC) coordinated the distribution of over 1,700 pounds of pumpkins, harvested from the AHCC garden program, to be donated to underprivileged children in the local area in time for the fall season and Halloween holiday celebrations. The total amount exceeded the previous year’s harvest of pumpkins by almost 1,000 pounds!

AHCC’s Ann Wise, Rob Zakula and Dan Webb delivered the massive donations to children at two very deserving places – Sunset Elementary School in Airway Heights and The Salvation Army of Spokane’s Sally’s House Facebook icon. Each of these youth-oriented organizations received two gigantic pallets of pumpkins.

Sunset Elementary School Principal Ty McGreggor stated it was perfect timing and that, “The students and teachers are very excited to have the pumpkins for their classroom projects!” Sunset Elementary staff were grateful for the charitable donation and shared that each student who requested pumpkins in their teachers’ classrooms was able to receive their very own pumpkin, totaling approximately 128 pumpkins.

The Salvation Army Major and coordinators met Airway Heights staff at Sally’s House and were incredibly thankful to receive the approximately 120 pumpkins for the children they help, who are in emergency foster care transition. “The children are going to love getting these pumpkins to decorate and carve,” one placement coordinator shared.

The AHCC garden program was established to provide positive programming and teach inmates skills and the impact of sustainability. Inmate gardeners take pride in their facility gardens and feel humbled knowing they can make a difference not only with food crops and reducing costs for the facility kitchen, but also providing opportunities to give back to the local community. AHCC custody and warehouse staff were very helpful in coordinating inmate workers from the garden and warehouse in packaging the donated goods.

The Salvation Army of Spokane’s Sally’s House is a safe place for children (age 2-12) and is the only child protective services emergency foster care program in Washington State.

Sunset Elementary School is part of the Cheney Public Schools district and encompasses grades Kindergarten-Fifth.