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Pick of the Patch

Annual fundraising pumpkin sale now through Oct. 31

The “little spookies” priced at $1.50 create an image of a giant spider descending down the hill by the church.

The “little spookies” priced at $1.50 create an image of a giant spider descending down the hill by the church. LOUISE KRAFFT

— The search for the perfect pumpkin is never easy. Size and color considerations must be taken into account, and quality is king. The variety of pumpkins at Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill, available now through Oct. 31, make the search a little easier.

Pumpkins at the Immanuel Church on the Hill patch vary in size and price, from the smallest “Spookies” to giant orange wonders. “The perfect pumpkin needs a nice face for carving, a good color and a good stem,” said Kathy Lemmon, a recent arrival to Alexandria. “You’ve also got be to able to carry it.”

For some, the search for the perfect pumpkin also means a chance to be active with loved ones. “It’s about getting outside in the fall and being together,” said Stacie Moats, an Alexandria resident who has picked pumpkins with her family at Immanuel the previous five years.

Now in its 19th year, the annual pumpkin sale helps to support the Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill’s outreach programs. More than 20 non-profit organizations receive support from the pumpkin sale, including the local groups ALIVE!, Carpenter’s Shelter, the Hopkins House and Community Lodgings. Pumpkins sold to Alexandrians also support international relief efforts, including the Haiti Micah Project.

“We take a lot of pride in being the pumpkin parish,” said Jim Snow, a parishioner with Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill and Pumpkin Patch organizer. “Everyone benefits when you buy these pumpkins.”

The pumpkins are grown in New Mexico at the Navajo Indian Reservation, where they are shipped across the country by Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers. Although much of the country was affected by a severe drought that impacted pumpkin crops over the summer, the irrigated farmland of the Navajo guaranteed a consistent and quality product.

The success of the pumpkin sales has grown over time, which means greater support for charities. “Over the years our outreach program has grown commensurate with the success of pumpkin sales, it helps provide better and more support with the non-profits we are involved in,” said Snow. “Pumpkin sales bring the parish together, it’s a way to be made known in the community.”

Details

The Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill is located at 3606 Seminary Road. The annual pumpkin sale runs through Halloween, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information on pumpkin sales and the non-profit organizations they support, visit: icoh.net/programs/pumpkin_sale/.