Pumped for pumpkins: Gourd sale raises funds for Soroptimists in Moses Lake

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | October 15, 2020 1:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — There were pumpkins everywhere in the parking lot of CED Moses Lake last Saturday.

Big orange pumpkins. Warty green pumpkins. White and green striped pumpkins. Giant, curvy pale pumpkins. Stacked and sorted and sometimes artfully mixed together. Pumpkins for decorating. Or even eating.

“These are hand-picked and locally grown,” said Sam Rathbone, who helped grow and pick all of these pumpkins on display. “That’s important.”

“We started in May, we planted them, and we were going to sell them come rain or shine,” said Hilary Williamson, the organizer of this huge pumpkin sale whose husband Eric planted them all.

“And look,” she said as she held out her hand to feel a few scattered raindrops splatter.

It’s not quite right to describe the event Saturday as a sale. It was a fundraiser for the Moses Lake Soroptimist Club, one of the few they could stage in this COVID-19-plagued year. The pumpkins were going for a donation, as many as people as could carry in their arms, or a push cart, for however much they thought they were worth.

The proceeds will go for the Moses Lake Soroptimists’ Care4Kids program, which helps needy elementary school kids with basics they need for school.

“We put backpacks together with two-three outfits, boots, shoes, raincoats, hygiene products,” Williamson said. “Care4Kids is why I joined Soroptimist, so it holds a special place in my heart.”

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Moses Lake Soroptimists were not able to hold their major yearly fundraiser, an auction in June. The organization raises money to provide college scholarships and support the career aspirations of girls and young women.

Williamson said last year’s pumpkin sale raised $710.

“We’ve already surpassed that,” she said a little before noon on Saturday. “My goal is $1,000.”

In the end, Williamson later said the Soroptimists raised $3,537 at the Saturday pumpkin sale. Banner Bank contributed a $500 match, she said, with MRK Law Group in Moses Lake providing another $3,537 match.

“This year is really important to try and raise as much as we can to make up for the lack of funds from our major fundraiser,” she said.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

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Sam Rathbone, right, talks with Kitty Ditzel and her daughter Kate on Saturday at the Soroptomist pumpkin sale in Moses Lake.

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Charles H. Featherstone

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Charles H. Featherstone

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Charles H. Featherstone

Carson Williamson, 10, with a stack of pumpkins at the Soroptomist pumpkin sale on Saturday, in between helping customers pick out and haul pumpkins. Williamson, whose father Eric grew the pumpkins and mother Hillary organized the sale, explained why he was helping bye saying, "I just like giving back to people and everything."

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Simon Rathbone, 6, pushes a cart full of pumpkins for a customer at the Soroptomist pumpkin sale in Moses Lake on Saturday.

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Charles H. Featherstone

Simon Rathbone, 6, climbs across a pile of pumpkins.