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News and Events



Pumpkins are being sold at the Townsend House Gifts in Ruston. Sale starts September 28th until October 31st. Stop by to purchase pumpkins during these hours: Mondays-Fridays 10:00am until 5:30pm and Saturdays 10:00am until 3:00pm.

Below see more about the Pumpkin Patch Project

One of the most colorful and collaborative benefit events for DART occurs every October, at Townsend House Gifts in Ruston. After serving on DART’s Board of Directors, Townsend House owner Kim Birch wanted to do something to help D.A.R.T. She planned a Pumpkin Patch fundraiser, and the response of the community was so enthusiastic that she has continued to offer this event each year.

Now the Pumpkin Patch, in its 10th year, is an established tradition in Ruston, heralding the arrival of fall. The scenic historical home where the gift shop is housed becomes a vivid landscape of autumn for visitors and passersby throughout October. People all over town make a point of purchasing their fall decorations from Townsend House. Families come and take pictures of their children in the pumpkins. Entire classes come out and each child gets a tiny pumpkin to decorate. It has become a community event.

But the Pumpkin Patch takes a lot of work. From the day the pumpkins arrive in an 18-wheeler from New Mexico – traditionally over 1500 of them – there is a need for volunteers. DART recruits helpers to unload the pumpkins, and to help out in the pumpkin patch. Before October is over, we usually have over 300 volunteers who have helped with this event. Traditionally, there are athletic teams, sororities and fraternities, from both Louisiana Tech and Grambling State Universities. There are church youth groups and scout troops, junior high and high school students, and parents with their children. Kim Birch describes the Pumpkin Patch as a “win-win.” “The Navajo Indian Reservation where the pumpkins are grown wins,” says Birch. “Townsend House wins because we love seeing our storefront arrayed in the gorgeous colors of autumn. The community wins because so many groups get to come together for a great cause. And DART wins because proceeds of every pumpkin sale go to help them keep families safe from domestic violence.”

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