Kansas Youth Raises Pink Pumpkins for a Cure

Pink Pumpkin Project

Maggie Roth hopes there will be as many pink pumpkins adorning doorsteps this fall as orange ones.

The sophomore member of the Holcomb FFA Chapter in Kansas has been working with the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation to help raise awareness and join in the fight against breast cancer. Roth says breast cancer research is an important cause to her, and once she found the foundation’s website, she knew she wanted to be a part of it.

“I believe that at some point in life, everyone is affected by cancer,” she says. “Whether it is someone they know, a friend of a friend or themselves, it’s a big deal.”

The foundation was created in 2012 by America’s pumpkin growers as a way to aid breast cancer research. Growers agree to give proceeds from the pink pumpkins they sell to the foundation, which in turn awards grants to research organizations.

MAGGIE’S JOURNEY

After discovering the project, Roth contacted the foundation’s president, and asked him about getting FFA chapters involved. They set up a plan for chapters to obtain seed and plant pink pumpkins in their communities. Chapters would sell the pumpkins and at the end of the season, donate 50 percent of proceeds to the foundation.

Roth started with her own chapter in Holcomb, and then she contacted a few others to see if they were interested. Within just 48 hours, more than 12 chapters throughout the country were on board.

Since then, Roth has contacted as many state officers as possible and says at least 40 out of 50 states have both FFA and 4-H chapters involved. When she began, she thought they would get 10 at most, but her hard work paid off in a big way.

Maggie Roth in pumpkin field

PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF 

Not only has Roth’s persistence helped other chapters become involved in service – an important FFA value – but she’s setting a leading example as well by heading up the project.

“I met Maggie when I attended the Kansas State FFA Convention, and was impressed by the service mindset she has,” says Brennan Costello, National FFA central region vice president. “She was excited by how much growth her project had already seen. This project could reach a national scale, and Maggie has the capability to take it there.”

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE 

Roth says she isn’t stopping anytime soon.

“By the end of my senior year, I hope to have chapters from every state involved, and I plan to keep working with the foundation after graduation. I’ve realized just how much service touches other people, while teaching you about yourself at the same time.”

To learn more about the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation and how you can get your chapter involved, visit www.pinkpumpkinpatch.org.