The Great Pumpkin comes to the Mission
|By Lana Alviar, Mission Education Projects Incorporated (MEPI)|
|As the long days of Summer slowly slip away to the cooler days of Autumn and the leaves from the trees begin to fall, Mission Education Projects Incorporated (MEPI), hosted the MEPI 3rd Annual Pumpkin Patch.
The Pumpkin Patch was once again a coordinated event between MEPI, Mission Police Station and The San Francisco Sheriffs Department Garden Project, with additional assistance this year from The National Latino Peace Officers Association, San Francisco County Chapter, Los Bomberos de San Francisco, and Firefighters Local 798.
As the clock grew closer to 11:00 a.m. and the sun broke through the clouds, crowds of eager children lined up outside of the park gates scanning the ground for The Great Pumpkin. Once everyone was allowed onto the grounds, there were many activities for the children to enjoy with the help of MEPI parents and staff, children had a variety of activities to choose from: cookie and cupcake decorating, mask making, lollipop ghosts, a coloring contest, or face painting. Once these activities were completed, the kids (and some of their parents) had their picture taken with ghosts, witches, and of course many pumpkins.
With their pictures firmly in hand it was off to a lunch of hot dogs and all of the fixings, chips, and juice. Thanks to the National Latino Peace Officers Association, San Francisco County Chapter, Firefighters Local 798, and Los Bomberos de San Francisco for providing the great lunch. Special thanks has to go to Firefighter Greg Collaco of Station #40 for providing the hot dog cart which made preparing lunch for over 1,200 people run smoothly.
After a little rest from lunch the children were off in search of their perfect pumpkin. Some preferred the great big ones while others went for the little ones, whichever was their choice all children went away with their very own pumpkin to take home and decorate.
This day was a great example of community teamwork. You could see it during the early morning setup and decorating done by MEPI parents, to the laying out of the pumpkins done by the folks from the San Francisco Sheriffs Department Garden Project, to the pictures taken by officers from Mission Station. But the perfect example was the preparation and serving of lunch by MEPI parents, members of the NLPOA, members of Los Bomberos de San Francisco, and members of Firefighters Local 798 working shoulder to shoulder to provide lunch for all of our guests.
By the end of the day over 1500 pumpkins had been given away. MEPI would like to give a heartfelt thank you to the parents, students, and staff of MEPI and of course the Executive Director, Rita Alviar, who without her leadership and guidance none of this would have been possible. Thank you also goes out to Firefighters Local 798, Los Bomberos de San Francisco President, Captain Charles Crane and Firefighter Eddie Londono, for their assistance and support. Thanks also to the firefighters of Station #11 for bringing by the truck and the engine for the children to see. In the future, we look forward to working again with Firefighters Local 798 and Los Bomberos de San Francisco.
|Photos provided by Lana Alviar|