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Fun and fall: A way to give back to the community.

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Warty pumpkins

Oklahoma State students who work at the patch can earn community service hours.

Six years ago, the Highland Park Methodist Church asked the Stillwater Lions Club in Stillwater to partner with it to operate a pumpkin patch.

This simple idea became a success in hosting different events and welcoming people from all over the place. The patch started last Saturday and will run through Sunday, Oct. 31. The patch is open Daily 1-7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sun. 12 p.m.- 6 p.m., at Highland Park United Methodist Church, 524 N. Stallard, Stillwater. 

The pumpkin patch is a fundraiser for the Stillwater community and the world. Some of the fundraising recipients are Highland Park Elementary School, Lions International Disaster Relief, church startup grants for local entrepreneurs, vision screening and a lot more. The support of the community is important to keep the event happening every year because 100% of funding received goes back into the community to organization’s and humanitarian needs.

Throughout October, the patch hosts special events like pancake breakfast, cornhole tournament, spaghetti lunch, pumpkin catapult and trick or treat.

Richard Hawkins, the president of Stillwater Lions Club, is one of the people in charge to make the patch happen. For Hawkins, organizing an event is something that can take time and effort.

“Planning of the next Patch begins a month after the closure of the previous Patch,” Hawkins said. “A committee apprised of church and Lions members have subcommittees to tackle various functions operating the patch; finance, advertising, patch design, pumpkin ordering, special events, customer service, purchasing, patch set up and pumpkin unloading. A semi-truck loaded with 2400 pumpkins and gourds is delivered each year from Pumpkins USA, a Navajo Indian Reservation in Farmington, New Mexico, that supplies over 100 pumpkin patches across America.” 

Additionally, Oklahoma State students can earn community service hours through working the patch and assisting its customers.

“Recruiting OSU students to volunteer is a no-brainer for us and them, they provide manpower and we provide them with the volunteer hours they need to report on their Transcript,” Hakins said. “And, it is a fun experience for them to meet and serve the community.”  

The OSU Volunteer Center has created a spreadsheet for students to sign up to work in two-hour shifts.