When the first signs of fall appear in Bossier City, everyone knows it's time for pumpkins to arrive at Asbury United Methodist Church. From late September through October, drivers slow down to marvel at the orange sea adorning the roadside in the Missions Pumpkin Patch. And if you're lucky, you may even get a glimpse of the "Pumpkin Lady."
Tina Ramsey, the "Pumpkin Lady," greets customers.
The pumpkin sale is held every fall to finance a wide range of mission projects supported by the church. Because of the vast pool of volunteers, faith-based organizations such as Asbury UMC can hold such labor-intensive fundraisers. Rather than duplicating services or providing direct social services, the church uses the funds they raise to augment existing programs in the community. The social service providers, who are recipients of these funds, feel this makes for a great partnership.
The YWCA's Family Violence Program, which also receives HUD Continuum of Care funds, is one of the many local projects supported by the Missions Pumpkin Patch. This program provides lifesaving services to women and children who have been physically and mentally abused. It is the only program of its kind in northwest Louisiana and currently serves residents in a six-parish area.
Every Bossier City resident knows that Fall is the time for the Missions Pumpkin Patch.
Services include a 24-hour crisis line, counseling, legal assistance, referral and advocacy services, and emergency and transitional housing.
"With help from the community, we are able to provide a more comfortable and safe atmosphere for abused women and children during their stay at the YWCA shelter," says Project Coordinator Rachel Scott.
It's faith in action at the pumpkin patch as volunteers work seven days a week selling pumpkins and giving back to their community. In 2002, approximately 43,500 pounds of pumpkins were sold with gross sales totaling almost $22,000…and that's a lot of pumpkins! Now in its 12th year of operation, sales at the patch have grown each year, as has the churches ability to broaden its mission work.The spirit of The Great Pumpkin is alive and well in Bossier City.