Pumpkins, pumpkins, and more pumpkins everywhere you look. Halloween seems to get more and more popular and the decorations more elaborate each year. In fact, no self-respecting Halloween house or shop display is complete without a cheery, bright orange pumpkin.
The grocery stores, back gardens, hardware stores and farm patches are all offering gorgeous orange pumpkins in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. However, there is one place around town where the pumpkins are not only available in every sort of shape and size, but purchasing the pumpkins at Immanuel Church-On-the-Hill goes a long way to helping local charities as well as the New Mexico Navajo Indians who raise them.
Waves of pumpkins seem to be cascading down the hill as cars drive by on Seminary Road and catch the eye of even the most preoccupied driver. For more than 15 years, the Navajo reservation has raised pumpkins and trucked them from New Mexico to Alexandria for Immanuels sale. The sale of pumpkins at Immanuel last year netted more than $35,000 for local charities including: the Network Preschool, ALIVE!, Carpenters Shelter, Community Lodgings, the Heifer Project and many more. The last tractor trailer load of 2,700 pumpkins arrived on Wednesday. We will get the truck unloaded as fast as we can so we can start selling those pumpkins. All of the profits go back into charities, and not to our church, said Susan Dawson, the Immanuel Pumpkin Publicity Coordinator.
The pumpkins are raised on irrigated tribal lands, providing 300 jobs on the reservation in northern New Mexico. Pumpkins are then shipped to over 1,500 locations in nearly all of the lower 48 states. Prices for the pumpkins are set by the Navajos.
Immanuel Church offers more than pumpkins to help raise money for charities. The church sells jewelry for a tribe of Crow Indians in Montana. Additional charitable funds are raised through the sale of gourds, corn, autumn crafts and various tasty treats such as soups, apple crisps, breads and cupcakes. The two autumnal items that keep the pumpkins purchasers coming back year after year and make a big difference to the money Immanuel raises for charity: homemade soups and apple crisps. Some parishioners pitch in and make such fabulous soups and apple crisps that people come back year after year to the pumpkin sale just to buy those two items.
Wendy John, the Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill Pumpkin Coordinator, has been involved from the beginning 15 years ago in raising funds though the sale of the pumpkins and other fall goodies. John explained that virtually everyone in their parish does something to help out with the fall pumpkin charitable venture. Even the Sunday School students decorate the treats, help unload the gourds and pumpkins, and generally do anything they can get their hands on to help out, states Johns.
To get a pumpkin, go to Immanuel Church On-the-Hill at 3606 Seminary Road (near the corner of Seminary Road and Quaker Lane) from now through October 31. Pumpkins are for sale from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm daily, and the prices range from $1.00 to $25.00. For more information, call (703) 370-6555.