- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

LA MOTTE, Iowa (AP) - Challenged by their pastor to make a $20 gift grow, one eastern Iowa family decided to grow pumpkins.

In 2010, the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church asked his congregation of about 25 members to find a way to increase the money they received from the church.

Farmer Lynn Sanders told the Dubuque Telegraph Herald (https://bit.ly/1tYYi3z ) that he purchased pumpkins seeds. He and his family grew several thousand pumpkins over the last five years by dedicating a part of their land each year to cultivating them.

Sanders’ family lets local residents take the pumpkins for free in the church’s parking lot, and residents can also make donations.

“We get lots of pennies, nickels and dimes from little kids cleaning out their piggy banks, which is great,” he said. “There’s no reason for a kid to go without a fall decoration.”

Sanders said they also have received sizeable contributions, including multiple checks of $40 to $50. That money has gone toward the church’s annual fall fundraiser, which raises money for charities. This year, the church raised more than $4,000 to help the Hospice of Jackson County.

When they started, the Sanders family used only one acre to grow the pumpkins. But this year, they increased that to two acres, producing more than 1,000 pumpkins.

“It’s great to do this with my family, it’s a great thing that the whole church comes together, and it feels good knowing that this money is going to charity,” Sanders said.

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com


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