The Light of Christ Community Garden has been transformed into a pumpkin patch, full of gourds waiting to be taken home and carved or turned into pie.
The mud-free pumpkin patch is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 31 at 34249 21st Ave. SW, Federal Way.
The pumpkins, which are grown on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Farmington, New Mexico, are provided by Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers. The community garden receives a percentage of the sales.
There are pumpkins of various shapes and sizes for sale, ranging in price from 50 cents to about $35.
Pumpkins purchased at the garden come with a sticker, which allows for entry into The Great Carving Contest, a nation-wide competition with a $10,000 prize.
Admission to the pumpkin patch is free and includes games, photo opportunities, tractor rides, a scarecrow contest and a weekend bake sale.
Jim Cox — who is the garden project manager along with his wife, Donna — enjoys taking young visitors to the pumpkin patch on hay rides using the garden’s tractor.
“It is fantastic to watch the kids,” he said.
The pumpkin patch is one of two fundraisers the garden hosts each year. In June, there is a yard sale.
This year, the Coxes hope to bring in about $2,000 to $2,500 from pumpkin sales.
It costs about $5,000 to $6,000 to run the garden each year, Jim Cox said. Expenses include fertilizer, seeds, gasoline and various repairs. Revenue brought in by the bake sale this year will be used to purchase a new tractor for the garden.
The garden, which is run through the Light of Christ Lutheran Church’s Care Ministry Program, is volunteer operated and all the produce grown there is donated to community organizations including FUSION, senior citizens at Mitchell Place Apartments, St. Vincent De Paul and New Hope Christian Fellowship. The garden produces about 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of food each year.
The garden is designed to bring the community together, Cox said.
“I don’t care where you are, what you are doing, everyone has the same issues,” he said. “We all have the same problems. Bringing together the community and caring about each other is really what this is all about. That is the joy we get from it.”
For more information about the fundraiser or the garden, contact Jim and Donna Cox at 253-326-7166 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit lightofchristgarden.com.