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SAUGUS — Spirits were high Sunday afternoon as the Saugus’ Pumpkin Truck arrived at the First Congregational Church — one day later than scheduled.
The truck arrived late due to complications related to COVID-19, which also made the church reduce its shipment of pumpkins.
“Because of the virus, we weren’t sure if we were going to do it this year,” said Carl Spencer who helped organize the event. “We decided to do it because we got so many calls and questions about it. A lot of people look forward to this.”
A group of about 40 people, many of them volunteering with the church, helped unload the truck.
The pumpkins will be sold to benefit the First Congregational Church and the Navajo Reservation where they are grown.
They are supplied by Pumpkins USA, an organization started more than 30 years ago in Georgia, where a farmer, Richard Hamby, had a large number of pumpkins he needed to sell and met a minister who needed funds.
This Pumpkin Truck has been a Saugus tradition for the past 18 years, when the First Congregational Church first began working with Pumpkins USA.
For truck driver and North Carolina native Ashley Rogers, who made the delivery, driving pumpkins is good business. He spent the last five days in the truck with his wife Stacey and his dog Milo, bringing the pumpkins cross-country.
“It’s pretty fun,” he said. “They give us a few pumpkins out of the patch. We’ve had some green ones, and white ones. And there’s real good money in it.”
Volunteers formed an assembly line to unload the pumpkins, carrying them from the truck to pallets arrayed on the church lawn.
“My granddaughter loves to have a pumpkin around the house,” said Bob Mitchell, who has attended the pumpkin truck unloading for the last few years with his daughter Sandy and his granddaughter.
“She’s already got her eye on the biggest one here,” said Sandy Mitchell, of her daughter, who was examining the selection of pumpkins.
“She loves to get her pumpkin,”Mitchell said..
Pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors will be displayed on the church lawn until Oct. 31 and will be available for purchase every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Volunteers are still needed to help staff selling shifts, and those interested are encouraged to contact Carl Spencer at (781) 233-9196 or to stop by the church to sign up.