Fall is rapidly approaching…OK it’s really like Summer only with pumpkins! Once again St. Richard’s will be blessed with over 10,000 pumpkins and gourds as our neighbors strive for some semblance of seasonal normalcy amid these Covid times.
Covid realities and perceptions create a big challenge for our church volunteers as most are at risk retirees. Even so, larger opportunities open up for remaining parishioners to be as visible as our church steeple in their witness and service toward our greater community needs. For when 2 or 3 are gathered in His name…goodness happens!
My goal in the remaining weeks is to prepare our congregation for the upcoming September Pumpkin Patch events as we install our Covid operational protocols.
Sundays, Sept 20 & 27 – Pumpkin University after live morning service (TBD)
Saturday, Sept 26 – Patch Set Up, 9 am til Noon, Bring mask and gloves
Wednesday, Sep 30 – 1st Truck Unload (60%) – 5 pm til 8 pm, Bring mask and gloves, BOSA cooking fajitas
Basically, our protocols will mirror those of a Farmer’s Market or open-air H.E.B. operation.
Welcoming & Sales Shifts – 50 customers maximum permitted inside the patch to provide adequate physical distancing.
Our Good Samaritan volunteers and all patrons should sanitize their hands before/after visiting the patch and mask up when physical distancing limits are approached.
A sanitizing table will be located outside the entry gate.
The Welcoming volunteer will manage the 50 person limit during busy periods usually occurring the last two weeks in October.
The sales table will have a plexiglass barrier and sanitizing materials to protect a single sales volunteer.
Traffic flow and distancing marks will direct customers inside the tent to afford appropriate separation for 3 wagons. Three additional distancing spots will be marked outside the tent. Directional arrows will be spray painted on the ground for desired flow.
During the busiest days/weeks, we will add a cash sales only position. The additional increase in number of needed volunteers will tally up total sales/donations for those in the queue. Cash customers can be expedited thru direct coordination between the tallier and the cash only sales volunteer.
Sales volunteers will sanitize the tablet, docking station and cash drawer upon opening, at shift change and closing. The Pumpkin Meister will sanitize all the above and spray the wagon fleet prior to daily opening.
Patch Set Up, Tear Down & Truck Unloads - Arriving volunteers will sign in with name and phone # for tracing purposes. Temperatures will be taken and sanitizer station provided. Bring mask and gloves for use while unloading and transporting pumpkins.
Wagon loading flow needs to apply physical distancing norms.
Upon coordination with Pumpkins USA, ALL of our pumpkins will be contained in palletized bins and stacked two high inside the truck which affords us an enhanced Covid unload protocol. A pump floor jack and fork lift will mechanically remove the stacked palletized bins from inside the truck. Wagons will be loaded from the bin locations by a team of 4 persons. Only 2 or 3 people need be positioned in the truck to move pallets toward the open end.