Volunteer fire department's annual pumpkin patch fundraiser goes contact free again this year

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The big orange pumpkin is back at the Durham Highway Fire Department, which means its pumpkin patch is back too. This year, the money raised will go toward much need equipment for the firefighters.

Volunteer fireman Brian McKearney said there are big pumpkins, green pumpkins, small pumpkins and even white pumpkins in the patch this year.

"We are doing our annual pumpkin fundraiser -- this is our third year running -- so we have a big pumpkin patch at the fire station with over 3,000 pumpkins and a bunch of specialty pumpkins," he said.

The fundraiser has been happening for three years, and two of those years have involved an extra bit of creativity because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"So, obviously COVID hit last year and so we had to change up our operations for the pumpkin patch a little bit. So last year we went completely contact-free," he said.

This year that means all you and your family need to do is to scan a QR code or drop cash in the drop box.

So when the call comes in, they can do their job while you shop, contact-free.

"The community relies on us and trust us kind of in their time of need to come to their home in and help them out, so we like to extend that same trust back to them in hopes that you know they all do the right thing and then honestly select the pumpkins that they pick out," he said.

The money raised selling pumpkins goes right back into the fire department

"We have two new trucks on order and the fire tax money that the county receives pays for the trucks themselves, but it doesn't cover all the equipment that actually goes onto the firetrucks," McKearney said.

Last year, they were able to buy new extraction equipment.

"The tools that we use to get people out of cars and racks, so the tools we had were about 22 years old, so the money that we raise last year went to replacing that," he said.

This year the goal is to raise $20,000

"We make things work and we'll find a way to make it work no matter what, but having those tools and specialty items to make the job safer and easier for our members and for our community are just super important," he said.

Brian said even if you don't need a pumpkin, they encourage you to come out with your family and take a picture ,maybe even take a look at one of their trucks. The address is 11905 Norwood Road.
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