Charity benefits from Halloween: Psi Chi partners with Children’s Place

Michelle Heiman

Combine the entertainment of carving pumpkins with giving to charity, and you have the first ever pumpkin carving contest from the international psychology honor society Psi Chi, the Psychology Club and the Psychology Department. The event will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 27 at the University playhouse. The contest will benefit The Children’s Place, located at 59th Street and Brookside Boulevard.

The Children’s Place is “committed to meeting the developmental and mental health needs of the very youngest survivors of abuse, neglect and other trauma,” according to its website.

“Over the summer and early in the fall semester, the club officers brainstormed ideas for selecting a charity of focus for the 2011-’12 academic year,” Faculty Advisor Kymberley Bennett said. “A vote of the club officers resulted in The Children’s Place being selected for this year. The Psychology Department also has instituted a recycling program that benefits the Children’s Place.”

Pre-registration for pumpkin carving ended Oct. 19. Registration at the event will be $7. “Anyone who wants to participate can use our tools and pumpkins or bring a pre-carved one,” said Psi Chi Membership Officer and Community Outreach Coordinator Melissa Childress. “They can also enter as an organization.”

While the clubs did not set a fundraising goal, they welcome all students, faculty and staff to participate and help support The Children’s Place. They will be providing apple cider and baked goods throughout the day for open donation, so they encourage attendance, even without carving a pumpkin.

The pumpkin carving will happen from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Voting will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. People can vote by dropping money into the carved pumpkins. At 4:30 p.m., the money will be counted. The person who carved the pumpkin that raised the most money will be deemed the winner of the competition.

Prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. Prizes include a $50 gift card to Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, two tickets to the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s “History of Kisses” (worth $70), a gift card to Tea Drops and a gift card to the UMKC bookstore.

“I see my main responsibility as providing feedback and guidance to insure that both clubs achieve their respective goals. I’m thrilled to say that we have an incredible group of students who are extremely motivated and active,” Bennett said. “Our club officers developed this as a creative way to raise funds for, awareness about, The Children’s Place.”

After the prizes are awarded, the carved pumpkins will be sold for $5 each. All proceeds go to The Children’s Place. “We already donated some paintings to be auctioned off from our cultural event earlier this year and are planning a hat and glove drive for the rest of the year,” Childress said.

For more information about the pumpkin carving contest, visit Psi Chi’s Facebook page or RooGroups page, or email [email protected] Entry forms are available on the RooGroups page or in the psychology office on the third floor of Cherry Hall.

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