BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and there is a sea of pink products out there, promising proceeds go to the cause.
But how do you know whether these pink products are worth the green?
At the Twin Cities Harvest Festival and Maze in Brooklyn Park, they're combining the pumpkin harvest and breast cancer awareness into one. They're growing and selling the brand new pink pumpkins.
Farmer Bert Bouwman said the special seed to grow them, available for the first time this year, required a promise. He said, "I sign a contract that for every pumpkin I sell, I'll be donating 25 cents to the foundation."
It's a cause dear to Bouwman. His grandmother died of breast cancer. Money goes to the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation which funds breast cancer research.
Walk through any mall and you'll find retailers trying to catch your eye with pink products.
But how do you know which ones benefit the cause best? We asked the folks who put on Race for the Cure.
David Egan with Susan G. Komen for the Cure said, "We at Susan G. Komen encourage people to apply the old standard of trust but verify."
Egan said first confirm that the pink product benefits a specific breast cancer program. Look for a name.
Second, look for what portion of the proceeds go to that program. Some give 5% of the proceeds, others give 100%. There are even some who just give pennies.
And there are some retailers which have already donated one lump sum and then mark the occasion, and their stores, with pink items for sale. Buying a pink product with them won't directly support the cause, but you are supporting the company's efforts.
Finally, Egan said contact the non-profit itself, to make sure they've partnered with a retailer, instead of the retailer just using their name to profit.
He said, "Fortunately we've not had an instances like that but we've heard of some other non-profits in the area that have."
Of course, you can skip purchasing pink altogether and just send a check. Egan said direct donation is the primary source of revenue for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
But legitimate items with the pink ribbon, like General Mills products and others, help boost Komen's annual budget, totaling, Egan said, "anywhere from 10 to 25 percent."
Some are going to buy a pink product or a pumpkin anyway.
If Bouwman sells all his pink pumpkins this year, it's $7,500 donation.
And Bouwman said with a pink pumpkin, "You can have ornamental, make a statement and as well, eat... so it's a three in one. It's a win, win, win situation."
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)