Young Life's Great Pumpkin Patch

Published 11:36 am Wednesday, October 18, 2006

By By Adam Prestridge
There will be no need for Atmore residents to drive further than a few miles to buy a pumpkin for Halloween this year.
Atmore Area Young Life volunteers worked quickly Saturday morning to unload 520 pumpkins from New Mexico out of the back of an 18-wheeler, which will be sold in the Christian ministry's pumpkin patch.
Young Life area director Chad Green said it was decided to create a pumpkin patch in Atmore after several of the organization's board members and volunteers expressed that they did not recall a pumpkin patch ever being in the city. Also, the fundraising venture is not a financial risk to Young Life.
"We have to raise $94,000 and it was something where we didn't have to carry a financial burden because the company provides us with the pumpkins and we just have to sell them," Green said. "Depending on how much we sell, we get a breakdown percentage of that money."
Green also said the pumpkin patch has given Young Life more exposure, getting individuals who have not been active in the ministry involved.
"It is a way to get people involved in Young Life that weren't already," Green said. "We were able to fill most of the volunteer spots, some with people who haven't been involved in Young Life in the past. It was a way of us getting them involved and helping us spread the gospel to area students."
The volunteers' help Saturday is what made the difference, Green said.
"That was a great help, it went by so fast," he said. "I thought it was going to take three or four hours, but it went by in what seemed like no time."
Green said the $94,000 needed by Young Life is for its operational budget. He said the money will pay for salaries, facility rent, utilities, program events such as Crud Fest, literature and other office expenses.
Young Life's "Great Pumpkin Patch" is located in the empty lot in front of First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Pensacola Avenue and School Street next to the Atmore Area YMCA and Community Center. Mother Nature put a damper on plans to open the pumpkin patch Monday. The opening was cancelled due to rain. Tuesday marked its first day open to the public.
Green said there are many things he hopes Young Life will benefit from the pumpkin patch.
"We hope to educate the community about Young Life and what we're about and make some money to benefit our ministry in the process," he said. "We also want everyone to be happy with their pumpkin. We want satisfied customers. You've got to buy a pumpkin and a Christmas tree each year, so why not support a worthy cause in doing so?"
According to Green, pumpkins will range in price from $1 to $25. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.
Green also believes the pumpkin patch will complement Williams Station Day as well.
"We not only look after Young Life, but we also want to be able to help the community," Green said. "The Chamber gladly partnered with us."
Young Life plans on having games for children to play on Oct. 28 during Williams Station Day and will also be assisting in the annual pumpkin carving contest and pumpkin painting contest.
For more information contact Young Life at 446-1188.

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