October 21, 2007

Church sells Navajo pumpkins

Wantagh church sells pumpkins grown on Navajo reservationWhen a small Congregational church in Wantagh needed financing to improve its nursery school, it didn't look to a bank for a loan--it sold pumpkins instead.

But the pumpkins peddled by the Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church weren't just any old orange orbs--they were grown on the Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico.

In this way, the church's fall pumpkin sale--now in its fourth year--represents the culmination of an inspiring tale of cross-country commerce.
A win-win situation:Perlow said the church's pumpkin sale, which has become a hit in the Wantagh area, has enabled the congregation to raise funds--about $15,000--needed to install protective foam rubber at the nursery school's outdoor playground, and renovate its basement.

Hamby said his business, which has more than $11 million in gross sales each year, employs about 12 Navajos full-time and more than 100 for seasonal work during the harvest.

"Unemployment is sort of high out here on the reservation," he said, "and we pump a couple million dollars a year into the local economy."

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