October can be fun and frightening, but it's also a very scary time for the people who are working hard to help the hungry here in Missoula, as winter arrives and the demand for services goes up.

And once again this year you can do your part by purchasing a pumpkin.

For the past several years, "Pumpkins for the POV" has seen the sale of thousands of pumpkins, giving people a chance to pitch in during October to buy the decorations they'd already be purchasing, but to help the hungry at the same time.

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Stephanie Dolan explains pumpkins went on sale last week and will be available at a variety of locations that are helping out.

"You can get pumpkins for $10 a piece," Dolan explained this week on Daybreak with Dennis. "At the Good Food store, at The Trough, at the Patte Creek Market, Imagination Brewery, the YMCA and Clearwater Credit Union on Brooks and the Clearwater Credit Union on Russell. And all of the funds from the sale of those pumpkins go to support our food programs here at the POV."

Read more: Ways to help in Missoula

Those are huge operations, serving thousands of meals yearly at the POV, the Johnson Street Shelter, and some additional locations. The shelter has had great success with its food rescue program, collecting more than 375,000 pounds of food from grocery stores and restaurants. But a few years ago that total was more than 600,000 pounds, showing how increased costs have presented new challenges.

"So grateful that restaurants are donating, but we get it. Like you just can't. you know, you're not stocking your shelves as much as you used to," Dolan acknowledges. "And you know, probably getting rid of less. And so, you know, we're feeling that crunch too."

Poverello Center photo
Poverello Center photo
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This year, you can even buy a pumpkin during a Sunday event at Draught Works Brewery, and decorate it on the spot.

"Representatives from the POV will be there. You can buy a pumpkin for 10 bucks apiece and Draught Works is going to provide painting supplies. And I'll just be a party there all afternoon where you can come and paint your pumpkin." 

There will also be A "Pints with a Purpose" fundraiser on the 25th at Imagine Nation Brewing Company.

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