Since 1999, children and families served by Episcopal Community Services, Hope Gardens and other community-based organizations have enjoyed a late October Sunday afternoon at the Barn hosted by our parishioners. Taking full advantage of our Barn and open fields, we have hay rides, pumpkin hunts and painting, face painting, great food and other fall activities for the kids, some of whom are Summer Camp alumni. We invite our adult guests to select and take home clothes, toys and other items remaining from our Second Saturday Sales which conclude earlier in the month.
For more information on the Harvest Fest or to volunteer for this October’s event, please contact Amy Roak at firstname.lastname@example.org or (215) 646-9494.
In their words (Rev. Hillary West, John Kepner, James Weiss, Allie Schreffler, volunteers):
“Julia sat peacefully at the table with an infant in her arms and another child in the stroller next to her. Her 6-year-old son was outside having his face painted. I asked Julia how her day was going. “I’m blessed,” she answered. “How is that?” I asked. “The sun is shining, my children are healthy and happy, we have permanent housing, and soon I’ll be certified.” Julia explained how helpful so many people have been securing her permanent housing and how grateful she is for newfound friends at St. Thomas’ who reached out to celebrate the blessings in her life. As the day came to a close—with content, tired children on her heels—Julia boarded the bus to return to her home in the city.” (Rev. Hillary West)
“On the hayride, I make sure everyone follows the “Three Rules”: stay seated, keep your arms in the wagon, and…have fun! We chat and sing a song: “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” Every year a curious smile on a child’s face catches my eye. This year, on the first ride, it was that of 7-year-old Sean. We bantered back and forth, and Sean returned for several rides, each time engaging me more. By the last ride, I asked Sean to give the Three Rules, and he sang the loudest. He had fun…and made my day.” (John Kepner)
“I had lunch with the bus driver, Tyrone, who has a teenage son. Tyrone told me the story of how his son was tempted by some schoolmates to steal from a store; his son chose not to participate. His son told him that the first thing he thought of was: What Would Dad Do? Tyrone beamed with pride as he related the story of his son making the right choice.” (James Weiss)
“Another exciting part of the day was the unexpected sight of familiar faces. Each summer, St. Thomas’ hosts a camp for disadvantaged children. Usually, a different group of kids comes each year, so I was thrilled to see one of the girls from the camp at Harvest Fest. As I scanned the crowd for other campers, the girl I wanted to see the most suddenly appeared. Grabbing her friend’s arm, she exclaimed, “Look! It’s the girl from the summer!” To know our camp made a memorable difference in her life fills me with more joy than she could imagine.” (Allie Schreffler)