Home New mexico united West Monroe Church Continues With Pumpkin Patch 20 Years Later

West Monroe Church Continues With Pumpkin Patch 20 Years Later

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For the 20th year, the lawn of First United Methodist Church West Monroe will be filled with pumpkins for sale to benefit the church’s many ministries, such as mission trips and the Northeast Louisiana Food Bank. The pumpkin patch opened on Saturday and will run until October 29.

Students, couples and families have visited the pumpkin patch for the past two decades, snapping photos and buying pumpkins to get into the fall spirit.

According to FUMC West Monroe member Tonya Hamilton, what started as a way to raise money for their children’s ministry has become a fall tradition in northeast Louisiana for the past 20 years.

“Our children’s ministry was growing. It was a wonderful and truly growing ministry,” said Tonya Hamilton. “We thought it would be something to do and it’s a great ministry for our church. We’re on the highway…so it’s the perfect location. We have a huge lawn. You know a lot of people are back in the area and no one can see them but we have this huge…it’s great publicity.”

Prior to First United Methodist West Monroe, Thom Hamilton said Faith Christian Church in West Monroe was the only church in the area to set up a pumpkin patch. Thom and Tonya Hamilton and Cindy Tatum helped start the pumpkin patch at FUMC West Monroe in 2002 when Faith Christian Church discontinued theirs.

Initially, the church got the pumpkins from a supplier in New Mexico, but now the pumpkins are supplied by Robertson Produce.

“They [New Mexico suppliers] would just take a percentage of your sales, Thom Hamilton said. “Pumpkins spoil, so we threw away as many pumpkins as we had. It was not a thing where a profit margin was to be had. It was a good setup because they sent the pumpkins to us in faith and we just gave them a daily sales report…and they took a percentage of that as payment. The church never runs out of money if we don’t have good sales or something…but every year it’s been good and the proceeds have gone to different charities.”

“We still have school children coming,” said Tonya Hamilton. “Elementary kids don’t come as much. I think it’s a lot more preschoolers and daycares coming. Field trips aren’t as frequent anymore…COVID has changed everything but we still have kids going out but on weekends to hang out and be here on a Saturday or Sunday. Families go out…kids play.”

In addition to pumpkins, the patch features several activities such as carts, a hay box for kids to crawl and play in, and a rolling bin.

Students, couples, and families have visited FUMC West Monroe Pumpkin Patch for the past 20 years.

Tonya Hamilton and Cindy Tatum have described the community response over the past 20 years as “overwhelming”.

“It’s still overwhelming,” said Tonya Hamilton. “Particularly on the weekends… after school it’s really nice. You’ll see there are people here taking pictures all the time and we’ve been considering doing it for two years. We were wondering if we shouldn’t but then the community was like ‘Please don’t.’ Schools, still not coming out the way they did, but schools and daycares still calling “Please don’t. These are the only things we cannot do with our children. This is local.. this is where we can come’.”

Tatum said teenagers who visited the patch as babies now return as young adults.

“What’s cool is when people come up now and they’re like, ‘Oh my God. We came and took pictures when they were babies,'” Tatum said. now. “

“It was never about the money,” said Tonya Hamilton.

The First United Methodist Church in West Monroe is located at 1411 Glenwood Drive, West Monroe. The pumpkin patch is open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Follow Ian Robinson on Twitter @_irobinsonand on Facebook athttps://bit.ly/3vln0w1.

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