Dr. Karen Eberhart - Family Medicine physician
The lawns of homes in Floyd, Polk, Bartow, and Gordon Counties are being populated by bright purple yard signs with jack-o-lanterns on them. The slogan above the smiling pumpkins says: “GET PUMP’D”. Each of these signs is both a gift and an opportunity.
This is all part of Get Pump’d for Kids, an initiative providing a fun, safe way to celebrate Halloween while supporting the children of Rome and its surrounding counties. The Rome-Floyd County Commission on Children and Youth (RFCCCY) has partnered with Harbin Clinic, Polk Family Connection, Bartow Collaborative, and Gordon County Child Advocacy Center to make this a reality.
The holiday fun works like this. Members of the community go to https://events.harbinclinic.com and purchase a Pumpkin Pal (a GET PUMP’D yard sign), place the sign in a friend’s yard, and leave a surprise Halloween treat at the door. Signs can be purchased through the website from October 2nd through October 30th. Proceeds from the Pumpkin Pals go to help the child/family advocacy nonprofits mentioned above, allowing them to continue their good work. Also — and this is the best part — for every Pumpkin Pal purchased, a special Halloween treat (a family-friendly activity kit and candy) will be delivered to child in foster care. So, each Pumpkin Pal is a gift that gives, then gives again.
This initiative is the brainchild of executive director of RFCCCY, LaDonna Collins, who came up with the idea last year when children couldn’t go out for treat-or-treating. “The idea came from me being a mom,” Collins says. “Harbin Clinic graciously got involved and helped make it happen.” She adds, “We are so excited to partner with Harbin Clinic again this year to provide a COVID-safe Halloween to a wonderful group of kids who deserve this and much more!”
Emily Earp, marketing manager for Harbin Clinic, says, “This really hits on a lot of the mission points of Harbin Clinic, like being present in our community and caring for children. Also, it’s not just our organization that is involved; some of our physicians have sold a lot of yard signs.”
“We were so glad to be part of this last year,” says Rhonda Heuer, of PFC, “and this is great opportunity to give back to families that are less fortunate.”
“I love the excitement that’s behind this,” says Joshua McClure, corporate communications & patient experience manager at Harbin Clinic. “In the middle of a pandemic we’re doing something fun and safe. It’s also something that has purpose and meaning and gives back to the community.”
Cindy Gregg, executive director of GCCAC, says, “This is a neat way to trick-or-treat, and to get involved in a time when children are feeling disconnected.” Doug Belisle of Bartow Collaborative agrees: “Any little thing we can do to help the kids have a sense of normalcy helps. We want them to know their community is rallying around them.”
Summing up the hopes of all involved, Emily Earp, says, “We hope this is something that continues for years to come.” It’s a safe bet that the foster children of Rome’s surrounding counties would agree.