Weekly Feature



2016-10-19 / Front Page

Kenmore resident runs pumpkin patch at church

by ANNA WALTERS
Editor


Coniglio III Coniglio III During the month of October, rows of different-sized pumpkins sit out front of the Church of the Nativity awaiting the smiling faces of children who get to pick one out.

The pumpkin patch was started 10 years ago at the church, located at 1530 Colvin Blvd., as a fundraiser to help raise money for youth mission trips.

Felix Coniglio III, a Kenmore resident and former youth director at the church, was looking for a different way to raise money when he came across Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers.

Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers began in 1974 in North Carolina with three acres of pumpkins and a partnership with one church, according to its website.

There was an agreement that the church would sell the pumpkins and they would share the proceeds. Now, many partners have been added throughout the years, and pumpkins are delivered to churches and nonprofit organizations across the continental U.S.


A pumpkin patch at the Church of the Nativity, located at 1530 Colvin Blvd., is open throughout the month of October. According to Felix Coniglio III, who runs the patch, the average price of a pumpkin is $8 to $10. A pumpkin patch at the Church of the Nativity, located at 1530 Colvin Blvd., is open throughout the month of October. According to Felix Coniglio III, who runs the patch, the average price of a pumpkin is $8 to $10. In cooperation with the Navajo Nation, Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers grows 1,200 acres, or approximately 2 square miles, of pumpkins and employs more than 700 Native Americans during its harvest months of September and October.

Coniglio noted that the pumpkins grow on a reservation in New Mexico.

This has a positive and lasting impact on a region with 42 percent unemployment, according to the Fundraisers website.

Coniglio said families enjoy stopping by and taking photographs of their children with the pumpkins, and having the chance to choose one to take home. He sees people return year after year.

“We’re kind of like the pumpkin church around here. People remember us, and we’re fortunate in that aspect.”

This year, Nativity’s patch has around 700 to 750 pumpkins, including gourds and little white pumpkins. The patch is open all month, and an attendant is present from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

“In our faith, we try to teach responsibility toward other people and not to be judgmental,” he said adding that Jesus helped the poor and fed the hungry.

The patch provides a way to give back, as a portion of the proceeds are shared between Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers and the church for mission trips.

A 1994 graduate of Kenmore West High School, Coniglio also went through the church’s youth program when he was younger and has been part of the church his entire life. He is currently a volunteer adviser.

He said he loves seeing the children get excited about the pumpkins and seeing people in the neighborhood, especially when they say, “We waited for you to open up” or “We’ve gotten our pumpkins here each year.”

Coniglio hopes the pumpkin patch can continue in the years to come and encourages everyone to stop by and visit.

For more information, visit www.pumpkinsusa.com or visit the church’s website at www.nativityucc.org.

email: awalters@beenews.com

Return to top