Chucking a pumpkin at the Albany County Fairgrounds on Saturday could help keep Laramie’s foster keep children warm this winter, Laramie Foster Closet Co-Founder Jennifer Vazqueztell said.
“These kids aren’t allowed to take anything with them when they leave their homes,” she said. “When they come into a new home, they don’t have shoes, they don’t have socks, underwear or clothes.”
The event is a way for Laramie Foster Closet to provide assistance for foster families while promoting awareness. Since 2016, the number of foster families in Laramie decreased from about 30 families to about 12 families, Laramie Foster Closet Co-Founder Alan Vazqueztell said.
“That number drops because people move and different things like that,” he said. “There were about 25 kids that came into foster care last week, and so if there are not homes that they can go to in Laramie, they have to go to a different county.”
Jennifer Vazqueztell said she and Alan Vazqueztell will donate all the money they receive from vendors, participants and admissions. They are also planning to have a donation bin at the festival for people to donate gently used clothing and other items, she said.
“Every $2 for admission per person goes 100 percent to helping the kids,” Jennifer Vazqueztell said. “All the vendors pay a $15 fee and all of the teams competing pay a $20 fee — 100 percent of goes (the fees) to the kids as well.”
Four teams built pumpkin chucking machines to participate in this year’s event. The team that chucks a pumpkin farthest could receive several prizes donated to the organization from local businesses such as the West Laramie Fly Shop, she said.
“Basically there is a big bucket full of stuff that the winning team gets, and then they get to split it up,” Jennifer Vazqueztell said. “We have four teams competing this year, two of them have 15-foot (tall) trebuchets, one is doing a sling-shot, and then (one) is doing a catapult.”