Families from all around our area will be coming to share time together picking out a pumpkin. In addition to being a great community outreach, the Pumpkin Patch profits are given each year to various organizations.
The Pumpkin Patch also has a profound impact on the people living on the Navajo Reservation in Farmington, New Mexico where the pumpkins are grown. Harry Descheene’s letter below will give you a little idea of what supporting Pumpkin Patch fundraisers is doing to help the Navajo people:
Dear Pumpkin Patch Partner,
My name is Harry Descheene, I am the Human Resources Director for Pumpkin Patch Fundrais-ers. I’ve been with Pumpkin Patch, off and on for 22 years. I would like to thank you as Pump-kin Patch Partners for participating in the project, and to let you know how your participation helps provide to Native Americans.
I am a Navajo, living on the Reservation all of my life (56 years). Pumpkin Patch has been em-ploying Native Americans here on the Reservation for over 20 years. Our staff here in New Mexico is 100% Navajo, including all management. During the harvest we also hire Pueblo, both Zuni and Hopi tribes (300 workers). Unemployment on the Navajo Reservations is 42%.
My experience as an employee and a manager is that Pumpkin Patch goes above and beyond what any organizations of the Reservation do to take care of their employees.
Pumpkin Patch pays for the transportation of their employees from all of the different Reser-vations, some as far as 4 hours away. Pumpkin Patch also provides residential facilities (dorms), laundry facilities, recreational facilities, an upscale kitchen with chef and kitchen staff, a huge dining hall, extensive safety orientation before workers actually begin field work. Transportation is also provided to and from the fields. After completion of the harvest season, all workers are provided with transportation back to their communities.
For many of our workers, it’s the only opportunity to provide for their families and them-selves. The approximately 1.3 million dollars in harvest labor makes a significant difference in the quality of the lives of my people. Opportunities like this are very scarce on our reserva-tions.
I grew up tending livestock on the Reservation, went to boarding school and worked in local government as an elected official in the capacity of chapter president for 12 years. My salary and benefits with Pumpkin Patch are substantially above what I might receive from other pri-vate enterprises in the Farmington area. I have found that the owners of Pumpkin Patch are extremely concerned with the welfare of all of their employees both full and part time.
Again let me say that I cannot understate the value of the service and work provided to the Navajo people by Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers and its non-profit partners.