What do the Easter Bunny and Halloween have in common? Cordell Green, DTE Service Technician in Gas Grand Rapids Field Service – HPP!

For 10 years, Cordell volunteered his time acting as the Easter Bunny to brighten families’ days each spring. As time went on, he looked for new ways to spread joy to children and families in his community. So, he hung up his bunny ears and turned to Halloween.

It all started when he saw a low-income neighborhood in his city and wondered if the families there were able to celebrate Halloween. He began to recruit friends and family members to host a pumpkin giveaway that would allow families to pick up free pumpkins to celebrate America’s favorite unofficial holiday.

Cordell set up games, a small pumpkin patch and a magic show, and was able to give away 30 free pumpkins his first year. Fast forward eight years and the pumpkin giveaway, now called Green Family and Friends, draws hundreds of families.

“I felt there was a need in the community and an opportunity to brighten the season for many,” said Cordell. “So, we decided to take the pumpkin patch to people who might not otherwise be able to experience one.”

This year, Cordell set up a drive-up, pumpkin pickup designed to keep families safe during the pandemic.

“Kids are struggling in many ways right now, partially because they’re not truly able to be kids and enjoy the magic of this unique time of year,” said Cordell. “We want to make sure they have fun in a safe way this year, and in addition to the pumpkins, we made sure to get plenty of candy – 100,000 pieces!”

For the first year ever, Cordell won’t be purchasing the pumpkins wholesale. He worked with a local Mennonite family to grow them locally. Cordell provided the seeds and the family tended the patch, producing 1,100 pumpkins. The family was so happy with their crop – and Cordell’s cause – that they’ve already agreed to grow next year’s pumpkins.

“It’s all for the children,” said Cordell. “I love to see the smiles on kid’s faces. We don’t see people on their phones or having a bad time, they’re there to have some pure fun.”

Interested in helping out at Green Family and Friends? Email Cordell.