Pumpkin sales at local church helping Native Americans in N.M.

GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A pumpkin patch has cropped up in an unconventional place, where picking out the perfect pumpkin also means helping others.

Big, small, white, orange, an entire acre of pumpkins cover the lawn of the McKownville Church. The patch cropping up here every fall for the past 17 years, and since the beginning, Angela Stott has been involved.

“We have had people who have stopped by and thought that we over-decorated for Halloween,” Stott said.

No, this pumpkin explosion is a sale – and over the years, it’s raised $100,000, sending church-goers on volunteer trips across the world.

Pastor Charlie Yang is new to the church and the pumpkin patch tradition.

“First time when I saw all the pumpkins I was like oh wow, I never seen this amount of pumpkins over here,” Yang said.

These aren’t just any pumpkins, they’ve made a 2,000-mile trek from a Navajo Reservation in New Mexico.

“It’s a low income, low employment area and it gives them an opportunity to sell pumpkins,” Volunteer Christopher Spencer said.

Spencer enjoys the familiar sight of the pumpkin patch and the familiar faces who stop by.

“It’s a very popular thing, we always have repeat customers people tell us they’ve been coming back for years and they look forward to this sale every year.”

For the volunteers, manning the pumpkin patch is well worth the positive impact.

“We’ve sent people down to Hurricane Katrina to help the recovery efforts, we also sponsor people to go abroad, there’s a group from the church going to Zimbabwe to do a medical relief effort sometime next year,” Spencer.

Projects that stott looks back on with pride – and looks ahead to helping more people – with the sale of each pumpkin.

“We love inviting the community in and we love the project,” Stott said.

The pumpkin patch is open 7 days a week through October 31. There are 22 tons of pumpkins here so whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find something.

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