“Pumpkins for Piggies”: Recycling Halloween produce for neglected and abused farm animals

Living East Tennessee

Now that Halloween is over, you’re probably wondering what else you could you do with all of your edible, produce decor. 

One Knoxville man saw a link on Facebook that prompted him to start a drive, called “Pumpkins for Piggies” for a a local non-profit farm animal humane society called Hooves and Feathers.

“It occurred to me that I have always thrown my pumpkins in the backyard and let them liquefy, and there’s no need for that. Someone can use them,” retiree, Jerry Rivers said.

Rivers noticed this non-profit organization was collecting pumpkins for pigs after the Halloween craze was over.

“As Halloween was approaching, I thought to myself, you know,  everybody is going to be throwing away pumpkins and straw, corn stock  and gourds, all of those things that animals want,” Stephanie Solomon, executive director of Hooves and Feathers, said. “Then I thought, well wouldn’t it be pretty cool if we could get these items donated to our animals.” 

Rivers heard the call and decided to take matters into his own hands. He reached out to the Central Filling Station, Knoxville’s premiere food truck park, and sought space at the park for the weekend right after Halloween to collect pumpkins for piggies. 

For Alden Larrick, founder of Central Filling Station allowing Rivers to set up shop at the food truck park was a no-brainer. 

“We have always tried to do our part sustainability wise, here at Central Filling Station. This is kind of an awesome, zero-waste initiative we had heard about before but never really thought to try to be apart of it,” Larrick said. 

Rivers later created a Facebook page, in October, which now has more than 680 shares on Facebook. 

“I got the word out and it’s kind of gotten out of control, we could very well have over 600 pumpkins coming here this weekend,” Rivers said. 

“It feels really good to have people do something with our pumpkins that’s great for animals,” Larrick said. “I love animals, so this is pretty awesome.”

“I just think pumpkins for piggies is a great way for people to not have to throw away their Halloween decorations, and to be able to recycle in a really positive way,” Solomon said. 

Hooves and Feathers will be collecting pumpkins, gourds and straw bales this weekend at Central Filling Station, beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3 and continuing into Sunday, Nov. 4.

All edible food donations will benefit the neglected and abused equine from the state of Tennessee and other farm animals in Knox County, the humane society houses on-site at Hooves and Feathers. 

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