"The Mystery Garden
5-7 p.m. Oct. 29
More than 20 cars, games, music, food
Sponsors: Community Youth Outreach
and Quayle UMC
Surrounded by seasonal orbs, Ky Briggs and Ryan Ruston play in a miniature covered wagon at OKC-St. Matthew.
Each October, the project "Pumpkins with a Purpose" at OKC-St. Matthew provides both seasonal enjoyment and important funds for local nonprofit agencies. This is the project’s 20th year.
The money raised amid fun and games is seriously impressive.
Grants totaling $19,000 were awarded from the project’s 2010 proceeds, reported church member Marilyn Solomon.
She described the pumpkin patch that spreads across the church’s front lawn, at 300 N. Air Depot Blvd. in Midwest City. A pumpkin festival features music by local choirs, booths by local artists, a silent auction, home-baked goods, books, toys, games, and face-painting.
Later, the church’s Pumpkin Patch Grant Committee weighs grant applications submitted by the nonprofits and makes allotments based on merit and established criteria.
On "Pumpkin Sunday" in August, grant recipients were invited to speak to the congregation about their work, and this month’s project was promoted.
Among the 2010 grant recipients were:
- $3,000—Mid-Del Food Pantry.
- $3,000—Manna for Pumpkins, grocery/fuel gift cards for families in need.
- $2,350—Free Friday at OKC-Douglas Boulevard UMC, weekly meals for hungry people and outreach youth activities.
- $2,350—East Oklahoma County Adult Day Care Program.
- $2,000—Mother-to-Mother, for isolated single mothers.
- $1,000—Mobile Meals/Spencer UMC.
- $1,000—Wesley Foundation at Rose State College.
- $800—Parkview Elementary Therapy Room, assisting special-needs children.
- $500—Disciple Bible Study materials for residents of Mabel Bassett Correctional Facility.
Another community celebration hosted by St. Matthew occurs in springtime. The church’s second Community Easter Egg Hunt drew more than 600 children, according to Wendelyn Perceful, associate pastor.