The cover of the 2021 RASTA calendar. (Photo submitted)

The cover of the 2021 RASTA calendar. (Photo submitted)

Smashed pumpkins provide a royal Thanksgiving feast for animals at Island sanctuary

Substantial community donations to purchase pumpkins surpasses the initial goal

The only thing missing from an otherwise perfect day was an impromptu Smashing Pumpkins concert.

The annual Thanksgiving Day Pumpkin Smash at the Rescue And Sanctuary for Threatened Animals on Chemainus Road was another smashing good time. All the resident animals enjoyed a fabulous feast made possible by donations from numerous community supporters.

“The event was a success in that we were able to reach and surpass our fundraising goal of 100 pumpkins and all the animals loved devouring them,” noted RASTA Sanctuary’s Lucie Cerny. “The event was primarily online in that we did a livestream of the animals enjoying their pumpkins for all of our followers to see, but we also smashed the pumpkins strategically in view of Chemainus Road so that those who wished to stop by and watch from the road in a safe, socially distant way, were able to.

“Normally we’d invite our many wonderful supporters out to the Sanctuary to partake in the Pumpkin Smash, as has been our yearly tradition, but unfortunately due to the restrictions of COVID-19 that’s just not an option for us this year.”

There was an extra five pumpkins in the patch after purchases from the donations. They were smashed on Thanksgiving afternoon for the residents to eat and, boy, did they get into it. You could see by their faces, some covered in orange residue, that it was an enjoyable experience.

The RASTA Sanctuary is currently home to more than 100 rescued residents of various species, including donkeys, goats, sheep, pigs, potbelly pigs, turkeys, ducks, geese, chickens, cats, one horse, a steer, a cow and one dog.

Related: Animals find a forever home and a new lease on life at RASTA Sanctuary in Chemainus

Besides the bounty of pumpkins, there was a little extra to help us with upcoming winter bedding costs, according to Cerny. Straw and shavings are used as bedding to help keep the animals warm and dry throughout the winter months.

It was an absolutely perfect day for the event.

“Mother Nature was definitely smiling down on us as we celebrated Thanksgiving with a Pumpkin Smash for the animals because just the day before it was pouring rain and once again the next day, it was pouring,” Cerny pointed out.

There were mini lakes on the property everywhere, she added, “and the only ones brave enough to bear the torrential downpour are Prince and Buddy as they scavenge for leftover pumpkins.”

Overall, “it’s been a rather challenging year for us due to COVID,” Cerny indicated. “Unfortunately we had to cancel all of our summer events and tours at the Sanctuary which has made fundraising more difficult.

“At the moment our 2021 Sanctuary Calendars are our one and only fundraiser so we’re putting a lot of effort into promoting those. Next year will officially mark RASTA’s 20th year anniversary and so the calendars we created are extra special and even include a beautiful centerfold!”

The 2021 Sanctuary calendars feature more than 50 spectacular images captured by world renowned photographer Sammantha Fisher and Vancouver Island’s own Andrew Hill.

Due to the challenges of COVID-19, the calendars are only being sold online in limited supply for $20 each. For ordering instructions, email RastaCalendars@gmail.com. Cerny advised if you don’t receive a reply within a few minutes, be sure to check your spam and/or promotion folders.

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The cover of the 2021 RASTA calendar. (Photo submitted)

The cover of the 2021 RASTA calendar. (Photo submitted)

Chico definitely won the prize for ‘who wore it best?’ at the Oct. 12 Pumpkin Smash event at RASTA Sanctuary. Lucie Cerny was grateful to all those who donated and joined for the livestream. (Photo submitted)

Chico definitely won the prize for ‘who wore it best?’ at the Oct. 12 Pumpkin Smash event at RASTA Sanctuary. Lucie Cerny was grateful to all those who donated and joined for the livestream. (Photo submitted)

Sam the Lamb digs into a pumpkin during his first-ever Pumpkin Smash. It’s always such a nice treat to provide a special day for all the animals here, says RASTA Sanctuary CEO Lucie Cerny, and “we couldn’t do it without everyone’s generous support.” (Photo submitted)

Sam the Lamb digs into a pumpkin during his first-ever Pumpkin Smash. It’s always such a nice treat to provide a special day for all the animals here, says RASTA Sanctuary CEO Lucie Cerny, and “we couldn’t do it without everyone’s generous support.” (Photo submitted)

Widget, RASTA’s senior potbelly pig, enjoying his treats. (Photo submitted)

Widget, RASTA’s senior potbelly pig, enjoying his treats. (Photo submitted)

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