Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Residents donate to replace stolen pumpkins

link Staff photo: Lillian Bowe

Elizabeth Vaughan, 4, picks out her favorite pumpkin from the pile of donated pumpkins on Wednesday at the Eastern New Mexico University Childhood Development Center. Program Director Elaine Gard said 10 pumpkins have been donated so far.

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Elaine Gard was sitting at her desk on Wednesday when she heard the doorbell ring. At the door were three people, each with a pumpkin in hand.

Gard, program director of the Childhood Development Center at Eastern New Mexico University, said the three had heard about the pumpkins stolen from CDC children over the weekend. So they stopped at a store and bought the kids some new pumpkins.

By the end of the day on Wednesday, Gard said the CDC had 10 pumpkins donated — and more are expected.

She said she has received multiple calls about donating pumpkins to replace the four the children were growing that were stolen.

“We have a wonderful community. It’s just great to see,” Gard said.

Lara Vaughan, the CDC teacher, said she still has not fully processed what the community has done. Losing the pumpkins the children at the center had tended was devastating, but the new pumpkins are bringing a new hope to the class.

“I’m really excited,” said Elizabeth Vaughan, who is not related to Lara.

Elizabeth, 4, already picked our her favorite pumpkin and is ready to learn more about them.

“The pumpkins we received, we are going to take our lessons to a whole new level. We are not going to miss this opportunity,” Lara Vaughan said.

The teacher said she is still building lesson plans around the pumpkins that the children can do, including math, science, art and motor skills.

The Veggie Shack also contacted the center and offered to donate a pumpkin to each student and Vaughan wants to plan a day the students get to harvest one.

“Since we missed out on harvesting our pumpkins, I thought this would make up for it,” Vaughan said.

ENMU police on Wednesday said the investigation into the thefts is ongoing.

Vaughan said her students are not mad at the culprits, just disappointed the pumpkins were taken without their permission.

“It’s incredible how they have reacted to this and I’m proud of them,” she said.

If the thieves are not found, Vaughan said she hopes they get a lesson out of it all as well.

“I hope they get a deeper level of understanding of what their actions have caused and use it to make better choices in the future,” Vaughan said.