GCC and United Way to hold pumpkin carving event on campus

In collaboration with Student Leadership (ASG), the United Way will host a pumpkin carving event Wednesday, Oct. 30 in the Student Union breezeway from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. In addition, a dunk tank will also be held from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. in the same place.

GCC employees, as well as college president Dr. Teresa Leyba Ruiz, have volunteered to be “dunked” in the dunk tank, outside the student union.

The event will be run by United Way coordinators Marlene Barrera, Georgina Ruiz, and Christina Izaguirre, along with some help from their United Way committee: Rico Moran, Madai Garcia, Brenda Nelson and Maggie Leyva.

“The impact we hope for is getting students and employees engaged and all while raising for a good cause and how the money raised impacts our communities which is impacted by everyone. We can’t do this alone, we need everyone to participate and help any way they can,” Barrera said.

Pumpkin carving is a staple in the American celebration of Halloween; scooping orange, slimy innards out of the festive gourd, picking each of the small oval seeds out and gathering them on the side to later be prepared for a snack. The pumpkins can then be cut into a silly or spooky design to greet trick or treaters on their way up to the door. This messy activity is usually reserved for home, but United Way, a nonprofit organization, is bringing the comfort of home to Glendale Community College’s main campus.

Pumpkin carving on campus has happened for the past few years and has had a great turnout each time, as is anticipated this year, too.

The pumpkins used will be donated, just as they were last year by Tolmachoff Farms. The team was given a little over a dozen pumpkins to be used in a pumpkin carving contest as part of the event. Anyone who wants to enter the competition will be charged a small fee, which will be donated to United Way to contribute to future events like this one.

These events, and United Way itself, hold a very special place in Barrera’s heart because she has had to rely on the help of similar programs in the past.

“As a child raised by a single mother, I know what it feels like to have a limited amount of money at home and looking for free resources. And I raised my niece and nephew so I know what it takes to raise kids, and how costly it can be. There were times my mother and I did not have a lot of money for school uniforms and supplies, and there were programs where we could get free school supplies, and it’s those types of programs that would help me save money,” Barrera said.

It is experiences like these that have inspired Barrera to become a coordinator for United Way, she said, and an extremely proud one at that. “It’s a privilege being able to help and give back to others just as I needed it.”