How to Grow Multigenerational Community from a Seed

Friends Who Care For Youth

In October, a few years ago someone brought a pumpkin to Meeting to be the focus on the table that sits in the middle of our Meeting Room. Afterwards the pumpkin just sat around in the kitchen with no purpose. After inquiring about what to do with the pumpkin, I was told that FDS could have it. Well, what were we going to do with a pumpkin? After some thought an idea came to me that has since become part of the rhythm of our year.

There had been some interest in our Meeting to do some intergenerational activities so that adults and children could get to know each other better. With that in mind, I took the pumpkin home and baked it in the oven and divided the pulp into 1 cup portions which I placed in zip lock bags and put into the freezer. At the next Religious Education Meeting, I explained that we were going to pair each child with an adult(not their parent) and that the two of them were going to work on a “Pumpkin Project” together. They could chose to work at the child’s house or the adult’s house and depending on the age of the child and his/her comfort level, the parent of the child could be present. Each “team” was given a one cup portion of the pumpkin pulp and they had to decide what they were going to make. Possibilities included, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, etc. One team that was not into cooking took the seeds and made a couple of necklaces, combining the seeds with colorful beads.

On the appointed Sunday, after Meeting for Worship, we had a silent auction and the “Pumpkin Projects” were put out on tables with the names of the creators, and everyone was invited to write their bid on the bid sheet. After a period of time (15 minutes or so) the bid sheets were collected and the winners were given their “Pumpkin Projects” to take home. The silent auction brought in $135 dollars!

Next, we held a Meeting for Business with the children so they could decide to which charitable group we should give the money. It took several weeks of discussion before the children decided to divide the money between two charities–one helping animals and the other helping people.

They gave $50 to the Delaware Humane Society and $50 to Heifer International. The following spring we put the rest of the money into plants for our FDS garden. One of the plants we planted was a pumpkin plant. It produced two pumpkins. We repeated the project with those two pumpkins and this time we made over $200 at the silent auction. This has been fun for both the kids and the adults and has helped us help others as well as ourselves in getting to know each other. As we have different teams each time we do it, the project will always create new relationships as well as new project ideas.

 

Rosalind Freeman is the Religious Education Coordinator for Wilmington Monthly Meeting