Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

October 21, 2013

Church’s annual pumpkin patch awaits shoppers


The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — It’s a familiar sight each year in October for motorists driving along Boulevard — the Southern Hills Christian Church Pumpkin Parish.

Whatever the size pumpkin you want for your Jack-O-Lantern — small, medium, large or extra large — they are available. And the proceeds from the sales benefit a number of worthy local causes.

Ninety percent of the sales are divided equally among Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity, the Central Christian Camp and Conference Center and Southern Hills’ children and youth, said Amzi Gregory, Pumpkin Parish coordinator and treasurer during its 16-year history.

Thursday evening, volunteers unloaded pumpkins from the second truck — 44,000 pounds of them, Gregory said. They come from a Navajo reservation located near Farmington, N.M. They are on sale during daytime hours officially through Oct. 31, but unofficially for a bit after that, Gregory said.

From 2-4 p.m. Oct. 31, Southern Hills sponsors its annual Trunk or Treat event.

This year’s event, which comes after the unexpected death of Pastor Gary Byrkit in August, is a bit different for church members. Byrkit’s passions included the Pumpkin Parish.

Richard and Janis Hamby, of Greensboro, N.C., owners of Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers, said they sincerely appreciate Byrkit’s great dedication throughout the years.

“Gary even became accustomed to being the ‘Pumpkin Church,’ after the first few years of sales at Southern Hills Christian Church,” they said in a unified statement.

Gregory estimated that 85 percent of sales are due to repeat customers. That includes multiple generations of the same family. The Pumpkin Parish is something the Southern Hills family enjoys sharing with the rest of the community each year, Gregory said.