It was wet, rainy and cold, but that didn’t stop six groups of Central Michigan University student volunteers from coming out to help at the 26th Annual Zonta Apple Festival at Papa’s Pumpkin Patch on Saturday.
Members of Kappa Sigma fraternity helped people on and off the hayrides at Papa’s, 3909 S. Summerton Road. The group then took turns lifting strollers and pumpkins off the hayride.
“It’s our National Day of Service today,” Holland junior Dylan Van Tubergen said. “(Helping people off hayrides) had its ups and downs. It was a little cold. Thank God the rain stopped.”
Nathan Winter, the philanthropic chair for Kappa Sigma and a sophomore from South Lyon, said hundreds of chapters of the fraternity were out volunteering.
About 20 Kappa Sigmas came out to Papa’s Pumpkin Patch to volunteer with the Zonta Club of Mount Pleasant’s annual fundraiser.
Van Tubergen and his two brothers, Rochester Hills sophomore Alex Shimanek and East Lansing junior Will Russell, held the hands of ladies and children as they came down the four steps from the hay wagon. They were one shift of brothers helping at the station.
Other Kappa Sigmas were helping at the parking area at Mid Michigan Community College. With more than an inch of rain coming down within 24 hours, the parking areas for guests had become mud bogs. A few cars were already stuck in a matter of hours.
The Health Professions Residential College also sent volunteers to man the corn maze and hayride table. Hanover freshman Ashley Kubish sold tickets to the corn maze and had fun with the children who came up.
“It seemed like fun,” Kubish said of the Apple Fest. “I like seeing the little kids running around with smiles. I like helping out the community and not expecting anything in return.”
Mia Manella, a freshman from St. Clair, said she enjoyed giving back to the community while getting in her volunteer hours for HPRC.
“Seeing the smiles and laughter of the community make it worth it,” Manella said. “Seeing them come together is great.”
Members of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority were helping weigh pumpkins and squash at the entrance of the barn at Papa’s Pumpkin Patch. St. Johns junior Bre Hartenburg said this was her first year volunteering for the event, and she loved the experience.
“I love seeing all the people,” Hartenburg said. “Being on campus isn’t everything. I love the smell of the cider and doughnuts from inside, too.”
Six CMU groups volunteered in total at Apple Fest, and Mary Jane Flanagan, the volunteer coordinator for Zonta, said she enjoyed working with each of them.
“We’ve had excellent support from CMU groups, and we’re very grateful for it,” said Flanagan. “We’re a small club, so we wouldn’t be able to do this without them. We had some volunteer the day before on the baking day, too.”
Flanagan said there were a few individual volunteers as well as from different campus organizations. She said they found out through the CMU Volunteer OrgSync. Some organizations, such as Sigma Sigma Sigma, volunteered through Hospice of Mount Pleasant.
Even though the weather did not fully cooperate, the experience and help of the student volunteers made a difference according to Flanagan.
“No matter the weather, people come out and have fun,” she said.