The Watson family’s pumpkin patch has been raising money for two great causes since 2007.
Brook and her brother Reid are now adults, but they were just kids when they learned how to plant, water, weed and harvest the gourds. The annual pumpkin sale became a fundraiser when, as a family, they benefited from the good work of McMaster Children’s Hospital and the Hamilton Ronald McDonald House, says their mom, Peggy Watson.
“And it’s as a family that we do this,” added Peggy.
“We all still work in the pumpkin patch,” although the siblings have full-time jobs — Reid works in the family business, and Brook is an RN with Niagara Health.
Over the years, they’ve donated more than $30,000 from the annual sale, dividing it between the hospital and Ronald McDonald House.
With such a dry season this year, Peggy, who goes out into the field every morning to collect gourds of various sizes and shapes for their road-side wagon, says she was surprised and pleased to see how many pumpkins were in the patch.
People looking for that perfect pumpkin can select one from the wagon, or pick their own in the field, she says.
Many of their pumpkin purchasers come back year after year, to support the Watsons and their fundraiser. “Some people have grown up coming here for their pumpkins,” says Peggy, who with her husband Steve enjoys going out to the wagon in the evening, selling their gourds safely, keeping their distance but still able to chat with the people who stop by.
Some share their stories about feeling grateful for the good care they’ve received at the hospital, she says.
With so many fundraisers cancelled, McMaster called the Watsons this year, offering to help if they could with suggestions for a safe event.
Some years the family has asked what the hospital needs and have donated for a specific cause, but usually they leave it up to the hospital to decide how the donation will be spent.
“They always need something,” says Peggy. “There are always sick children to help.”
They are selling their pumpkins for $3 to $6, depending on the size, and their wagons are at 1085 and 644 Concession 7.