Painting Pumpkins Brings Happiness to Members of Local Agencies


By Meredith Farrer

Senior Haley Warner has participated in the Pumpkin Painting Party since her sophomore year. She went because it sounded fun and her friends were going. Photo by Racheal Koole.

1993, Sveri May, Peacejam advisor, came up with the idea for the first Loy Norrix Pumpkin Painting Party, with 150 students showing up to paint pumpkins, and 15 different agencies that would receive the painted pumpkins. Sveri May hand delivered all the pumpkins herself.

“It was a long process,” said Sveri May laughing.

Sveri May remembers that year’s delivery very clearly. She arrived at Bronson Pediatrics and was carrying a small little pumpkin that a student had painted. Sveri May walked into one of the rooms where a little girl was hooked up to a ventilator. She was instantly told to leave by the doctors and nurses in the room and that the pumpkin she was carrying was covered in germs and was not allowed in the room. Sveri May noticed the girl was smiling and laughing as she left the room. Shortly after Sveri May had left the room the little girls mother rushed out of the room and stopped Sveri May from leaving. The mom begged Sveri May to bring the pumpkin back and she explained the situation to Sveri May. The little girl had very little time left; she was going to die soon and the mother hadn’t seen her little girl that happy in a very long time.

The Loy Norrix Pumpkin Painting Party has grown tremendously since that first year, now with 47 agencies and over 400 Loy Norrix students showing up to paint pumpkins.

“[It is] so much fun for me to see the Norrix School family sit down and paint a pumpkin,” said Sveri May.
Sveri May is not the only one who enjoys the Pumpkin Painting Party. On the day of the party, students rush from their classes into the cafeteria and grab a pumpkin. You can hear the talking and the laughter throughout the main hallway. Kaila Larkins, a Peacejam member, helped set up and run the party. This was Larkins’ first year participating in the Pumpkin Painting Party. She has already seen the impact this party creates.

“The Pumpkin Painting party is an amazing event for Loy Norrix to participate in because even though we don’t realize it we are touching the lives of hundreds of people all around the Kalamazoo area,” said Larkins.

Not only do students enjoy painting the pumpkins, the members of the agencies appreciate receiving them.

“People love commenting on these Norrix kids that care so much about people in different situations,” said Sveri May.
Peacejam is not the only organization involved in the Pumpkin Painting Party. National Honors Society is also involved in the painting and delivering of the pumpkins.

“We spread the wonderfulness of Loy Norrix one pumpkin at a time,” said Sveri May.