The pumpkin patch at Grace Community United Methodist Church (UMC) at FishHawk is returning again this year on Saturday, October 7 and will be open weekdays between 2-7 p.m. and weekends between 11 a.m.-7 p.m. through Tuesday, October 31.
“Last year was our first time hosting a pumpkin patch at our church,” said Andrea Reardon, charter member of Grace Community UMC at FishHawk. “It was such a success that we planned to do it again this year. I worked the pumpkin patch at my church in South Florida and thoroughly enjoyed the experience and jumped at the chance to volunteer here in Lithia. It’s fun to talk with the customers and see the looks on children’s faces as they pick the perfect pumpkin or gourd for their home.”
The pumpkin patch was the vision of the church’s former pastor, Tracie Ashley.
“We had an amazing volunteer response from the church, Newsome, ROTC and the Boy Scouts, which contributed to the success of the patch,” Reardon said. “Our youth minister, Greg Rusch, gathered pallets, raised a tent, added lighting and built a set for photos.”
The pumpkins are sourced from Pumpkins USA, established in 1974.
“Their pumpkins are grown on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Farmington, NM,” Reardon said. “They are grown in cooperation with the Navajo Nation, Pumpkins USA. The pumpkins are grown on 1,200 acres, which is approximately 2 square miles of pumpkins, and employs more than 700 Native Americans during harvest.”
Grace Community UMC at FishHawk is focused on serving its community through a program called ‘Grace Serves.’
“Each month, a project is selected that Grace Community will support by volunteering time or donating needed items,” Reardon said. “Last month, our service project was providing back-to-school supplies for Pinecrest Elementary. Funds from the patch will be raised to support these programs.”
Reardon and the rest of the congregation at Grace Community UMC at FishHawk love that the pumpkin patch has returned for another year.
“There are many things I like about working in the pumpkin patch.” Reardon said. “I love seeing the excitement on children’s faces as they walk the patch looking for the perfect pumpkin. It’s fun seeing people bring their families and pets to pose for a fall picture in the photo gallery. It’s also nice to hear visitors’ plans for using the pumpkins and gourds in their home decorating.”
If you would like to learn more about the Grace Community UMC at FishHawk or want volunteer at the pumpkin patch, you can visit the church’s website at www.mygraceumc.com. The church is located at 5708 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Lithia.