PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Sauvie Island farm Bella Organic is using its annual corn maze to raise awareness for suicide prevention and mental health during the 2022 fall season.
This year’s maze features a message to “DIAL 988,” the number for the suicide prevention hotline. The message, Bella Organic spokesperson Sofia Kondilis told KOIN 6, is part of the family-run farm’s effort to promote local community issues.
“We have at least three of our team members at the farm that have family members who have committed suicide,” Kondilis said. “We have members of our family as well who have suffered from mental health issues and we wanted to spark discussions about mental health awareness, get the word out about the new suicide prevention hotline, and also spread a message of hope in our community.”
The farm announced that it will donate an unspecified amount of its proceeds from this year’s maze to a yet-to-be named nonprofit that benefits mental health issues. Although the causes change each year, Kondilis said that the annual donation is usually somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000.
The theme for last year’s maze was “Unite Against Hate.” A message that the farm paired with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. on its social media pages: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
The maze is open and running daily through Oct. 31. The maze is approximately 2.7 miles long from start to finish and is estimated to take one hour to complete. The farm’s pumpkin patch opens on September 25.