MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — St. Mark United Methodist Church in McAllen has officially kicked off its annual pumpkin patch. With the pandemic affecting its congregation, the church is looking forward to the boost the pumpkin sales will provide to help keep its programs afloat.
Though COVID-19 nearly prevented St. Mark’s Pumpkin Patch from happening this year, members of the church came together to find a way to continue the decades-old tradition.
“With a lot of praying and talking with the city and working on how to make it safe, we have managed to find a pumpkin patch that can be safe and be that sense of community we’re really longing for right now,” said St. Mark Youth Director Jessica Flores.
The church has about a 25% in-person attendance right now, with the remaining watching online. Due to this, they have had to make some changes.
“Thankfully we haven’t had to let anyone go in our church, but we have had to cut back a little on staffing,” said Flores.
With pumpkin sales, they are expecting a significant boost to help cover their vital programs.
“We generally raise between $9,000 and $12,000 for our church to fund our programming and different outreaches as well,” she said.
Such programs are enjoyed by Hollie Landis’ three daughters, who volunteer at the pumpkin patch every year.
“They have a blast here doing back to school events, end of summer events, pumpkin patch,” she said.
To maintain social distancing, entry tickets are being sold online this year so a limited number of people can roam at a time.
The Garza family was present for opening day to offer their support.
“We like to contribute to the church when we can because obviously the church helps the people, helps the community out,” said Alejandro Garza. “So it’s a good example for him as well, so he can see how we’re helping and see little kids and stuff. Definitely a positive influence toward everybody.”
Apart from the church, a New Mexico Navajo tribe that provides the pumpkins each year benefits from the sales, as they receive 65% of the profit.
The pumpkin patch has thousands of pumpkins available for purchase and is open every day through the rest of the month.
Click here for information on ticket sales and hours of operation.