The scarecrow is one of the most iconic harvest images. Just thinking of the word “harvest” brings to mind images of fields of corn, farm houses, barns, and yes, scarecrows. His purpose is to, well, scare the crows away. Crows… those flying thieves of crops our farmers work so hard to produce. Living in the city, we don’t get to see these images too often, however we do have our fair share of “scarecrows” and “crows.”


The word “harvest” also brings to mind a community coming together to share resources and help those in need… like what we saw on Saturday at the first-ever Baton Rouge Halloween Parade. The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank was first in line harvesting food from the generous crowd. This single act raised 1,633 pounds of food for the hungry in the food bank”s 11-parish area. That translates to 1,256 meals. Think about that for a minute… 1, 256 people will have a meal because of you. This could be a child who doesn’t even know that his parents are struggling, or it could be someone who lost their job due to the economy, it could be an elderly person on a minimal and fixed income, or it could be someone who was about to give up hope but perhaps found the strength to keep going in the nourishment you provided. Or, in the future, it could even be you.


Harvesting isn’t just about food, though. It can also be about resources. 10/31 Consortium collected 73 youth costumes for the children of the Big Buddy Program. These children otherwise would not be able to participate in Trick or Treat. Because of you, 73 children have experienced a positive influence of creativity. Perhaps one day it will inspire them to see opportunities beyond their inner-city surroundings. Additionally, while the total amount has not yet been determined, we will be able to make a monetary donation to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in our first year.


As we were finishing up on parade day, a man approached one of our event organizers. He was very late and apologized for missing the parade. He had come a long way but wanted to make sure that the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank got his donation: a single can of corn. He apologized because it wasn’t much… it had been a rough year, but he knew the importance of what we were doing and wanted to participate. This, my friends, is what the harvest is all about. This is the meaning of the Baton Rouge Halloween Parade and 10/31 Consortium – to come together as a community and help those less fortunate than ourselves.


Back to the scarecrow. You, the members of 10/31 Consortium, our sponsors and friends are our “scarecrows.” We see you shew the “crows” away with every positive mention of our organization. We see you protect our harvest with your involvement. We know you are out there and we are grateful to have you. Thank you for your participation. Thank you for your determination. We hope you are proud of your involvement.


While the 2011 parade has just ended, we do need your help already with preparations for 2012. Please contact the Metropolitan Council and tell them that you support 10/31 Consortium’s Halloween Parade. Tell them that our city needs this organization and this parade. Please help us shew to the crows away once more.


Again, thank you for your involvement. Together we will continue to make a positive change in the City of Baton Rouge.


by Kelley Criscoe Stein