NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

October 1, 2013

Church offers trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Amesbury City Notebook
Mac Cerullo

---- — Hoping to build on the success of the annual summer Strawberry Festival, the Main Street Congregational Church will be holding a month-long Pumpkin Patch fundraiser in which hundreds of pumpkins will be laid out across the church lawn for residents to purchase.

Louise McRae, a member of the church’s Board of Fellowship and Outreach, said between 500 and 1,500 pumpkins will be delivered to the church on Saturday, and then between Oct. 6 and Oct. 30 the pumpkins will be available for sale, with all proceeds going to the church’s general fund.

“We do a lot of missions and trips for organizations outside of ourselves, we’ve helped Our Neighbors’ Table and some of the playground efforts,” McRae said. “Basically it’s just to keep the church going, as most churches today have a need for fundraising.”

The price of the pumpkins will vary depending on the size, and McRae said the smallest ones would start at $3 and increase in price by a dollar, with the biggest pumpkins priced between $10 and $12. There will also be decorative gourds available for sale, and McRae said there will be photo opportunities for kids to stick their heads through fun cardboard cutouts.

“It’s not just fundraising — part of it is building community within the community,” McRae said. “We want to be a presence in the community and this is a part of that effort.”

Church volunteers will help staff the event throughout the month, and residents can purchase pumpkins between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and between noon and 6 p.m. on Sundays and from Tuesday to Friday.

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The Amesbury Educational Foundation’s fourth annual Autumn Evening of Giving is set for Monday, Oct. 21, from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Ale House, and tickets are now on sale for $25 per person.

The evening once again culminates with the awarding of the $10,000 Jordan M. Shay Memorial Grant and trophy, which is presented annually in honor of Jordan Shay, the Amesbury High School graduate who served in the Army after graduating in 2005. Shay was killed in action in Iraq in September of 2009.

An additional $5,000 grant will also be awarded during the ceremony, and throughout the evening guests will also be able to enjoy a seasonal dinner buffet, a commemorative pint glass, a silent auction and AEFI Poker.

Residents can participate in AEFI Poker by purchasing an envelope for $20 or three envelopes for $50. Each envelope has a poker hand, and when all envelopes are opened at the event, whoever has the best hand will win $1,000. Envelopes can be purchased in advance and players don’t need to be present at the event to win.

For more information, or to purchase tickets of AEFI Poker envelopes, contact Cathy Toomey at 978-388-0880 or Laurie Knapp at 978-388-6661.

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Earlier this month, Coastal Connections of Amesbury was awarded a $6,975 Quality of Life grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which will help fund new art programs intended to help disabled residents reach their true potential.

Established in 2008, Coastal Connections provides a variety of services to adults with developmental and physical disabilities. The nonprofit organization offers basic arts and crafts activities, but with the grant it will now be able to accommodate individuals with multiple disabilities in its day program to overcome barriers, create arts, decrease isolation and improve communication skills through visual artistic experiences.

Coastal Connections was one of 74 organizations nationwide to be awarded a grant from the Reeve Foundation, which collectively awarded $500,000. Since 1999, the program has awarded 2,205 grants totaling $17 million.

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On Thursday, the Whittier Home Museum will be hosting James Elliot Reid Jr., an Amesbury native and a descendent of John Greenleaf Whittier himself, who will be sharing his ancestry in relationship with Whittier’s family while exploring the rest of his extensive family tree.

“Whittier was his great-, great-, great-grand uncle, and Reid coincidentally, the first ‘barefoot boy’ when the John Greenleaf Whittier Bridge was opened on Sept. 4, 1954,” said Cynthia Costello, president of the Whittier Home Association. “Reid notes that his father, James Elliot Reid, descends from the poet’s brother, Matthew Whittier.”

The presentation will be held on Thursday at 2 p.m., and admission is free for members and $10 for guests. Light refreshments will be served following the program, and those interested in attending should call ahead and make reservations at 978-388-1337.

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The following meetings are scheduled this week and are open to the public:

Tonight

School Committee Budget/Finance Subcommittee, 6 p.m., Amesbury High School Library.

School Committee, 7 p.m., Amesbury High School Library.

Wednesday

AHS Student Council Meeting, 7 p.m., Amesbury High School Cafeteria.

Thursday

AHS Parent Advisory Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Amesbury High School Principal’s Conference Room.

Zoning Board of Appeals, 7 p.m., City Hall Auditorium.

Monday

Conservation Commission, 6:30 p.m., City Hall Auditorium.

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Mac Cerullo covers Amesbury for The Daily News. He can be reached at 978-462-6666, ext. 3238 or by email at mcerullo@newburyportnews.com. Follow Mac on Twitter at @MacCerullo.