By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
The Palisades-Malibu YMCA annual pumpkin patch is officially open for business at Simon Meadow—selling two semi-trucks worth of pumpkins through October 31 or until the lot sells out.
Executive Director Jim Kirtley explained that the patch would be following all Los Angeles County protocol in place for COVID-19, including social distancing and requiring masks to be worn by patrons.
“It’s vital to the YMCA’s existence—at a local branch level and at a Los Angeles metropolitan level,” Kirtley said of the pumpkin patch.
The patch is one of the YMCA’s annual fundraisers, which Kirtley shared are more important than ever following a very atypical year for the branch.
“Funds raised go toward helping those who need financial assistance to participate in YMCA programs and YMCA memberships,” Kirtley explained. “We give out between $90,000 and $100,000 worth of financial aid per year for programs and memberships.”
That amount of assistance is provided through the Palisades-Malibu location alone.
“With the gyms being closed down, lots of folks have kept their memberships to support the YMCA, but some can’t and that’s totally understandable,” Kirtley said. “We’re doing what we have to do to survive and having events like this will help the survival of the YMCA.”
The patch has been a tradition within the community for many years. Kirtley has been with Palisades-Malibu YMCA since 2000, and he shared that it was going on “well before” he arrived.
Though this year the annual glass sale, typically held in conjunction with Santa Monica College, will not be taking place, Kirtley explained, the Winding Way art exhibit will be on display and feature upcycled cardboard.
Kirtley also shared that the annual Christmas tree lot is on track to open this year as well—he has talked to a couple of farmers from Oregon, out of concern for their safety due to the fires and also to ensure that trees would be available.
“We are hoping and planning to have the Christmas tree lot as well because we know it’s such a staple of the community, along with the pumpkin patch,” Kirtley said. “The YMCA as a whole is such a staple of the community.”
Kirtley concluded with a message of how vital the pumpkin patch fundraising is for the Y—but also how important it is to have the patch available for the community.
“We’re providing a safe, outdoor social experience,” Kirtley concluded. “I think that’s key, to be able to get out and enjoy something that you’ve always enjoyed—something that COVID isn’t taking away from you—the YMCA pumpkin patch.”
This year’s patch hours are Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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