Fall is finally here and a great way to start off the fall season is by bringing your family to the Pumpkin Patch that is held annually at the Southside United Methodist Church (SUMC), located at 3120 Hendricks Ave. For more than 20 years the congregation, staff and volunteers come together to spread love and holiday cheer to the community by allowing everyone to join in on pumpkin carvings, pumpkin painting and other fun activities for parents and their children.
Steve Dickson, youth director of student ministries at SUMC, helps coordinate and oversee the pumpkin patch. The patch is a youth project that the ministry puts together to raise money for their youth department as well as charities such as the Madison Youth Ranch – a place that provides safe living conditions for children in need of somewhere to sleep. The patch also donates money to HAPI – an organization that tutor students that attend Hendricks Avenue Elementary. To top it all off, the proceeds that are collected during the month also go toward mission trips to Guatemala and Cuba.
“We invite all the elementary and preschool students from the area to come out and do readings in the patch,” said Dickson. “They’ll come out to sit by the trees and they’ll do readings on fall stories and pumpkin stories. Then we’ll let them walk around for a scavenger hunt to find the biggest and weirdest pumpkins.”
There are approximately 6,000-7,000 pumpkins that get delivered during October at the pumpkin patch. The sizes range from small pumpkins (about the size of a tennis ball), to large pumpkins (bigger than the size of a basketball). Families can take photos and purchase the pumpkins,prices varying from 25 cents to $25.
The volunteers consist of members from the youth group along with their parents. From middle school to high school students, they come out two per shift to help the adults.
“Its people from our youth ministry,” said Dickson. “The parents and kids come out and are able to earn what we call youth dollars to pay for different things and trips we take.”
Matthew Cordek, one of the many volunteers for the patch and a member of the youth ministry, loves to volunteer during this great event. After school, he tries to come twice a week once he’s done with his school work and athletic practices.
“Days when I have the opportunity to do a double shift, I try to get more hours in,” said Cordek. “It’s fun to spread the holiday spirit.”
This year at the patch you can expect fun activities for the whole family to enjoy all month long. SUMC is having their Fall Festival Week Oct. 21-25 with fun-filled activities that will include the Wiffle Ball Homerun Derby, Kids Pumpkin Fun Run, Family Talent Show Night, and the Blue Grass Festival on the Lawn.