When Palisades-Malibu YMCA employee Oscar Rodriquez opened the Y’s Pumpkin Patch on Sunday morning, he discovered that about 20 large pumpkins had been broken open and empty Coors beer cans were scattered about.
“Whoever it was may have been playing a game,” Rodriquez told Circling the News, said, noting that the recycling bins had also been knocked over.
YMCA Executive Director Jim Kirtley estimates that the loss was about $500. “That was money taken away from the Y,” he said.
Proceeds from pumpkin sales help sponsor scholarships for the Y’s teen government program, for physical education enrichment, for summer day camp and for memberships.
“We’ve had a great year so far,” said Kirtley, who noted that some of the pumpkins had been donated by Pacific Palisades residents, such as Bruce Schwartz. “Palisadians are growing pumpkins for our patch.”
“People are thirsty for community and the patch has provided a safe space,” Kirtley said. (Before entering the patch in Temescal Canyon, people are queried about their health and temperatures are taken.) “We’re really looking forward to the Christmas tree lot.”
Kirtley has reported the vandalism to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Pumpkins are still available for purchase, including “snake” pumpkins. The hours are Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. or until the pumpkins are gone.
(Editor’s note: This is a close community, and whoever destroyed the pumpkins, whether intentional or not, is probably known by local youth. Could those vandals be prevailed upon to do the right thing and donate money to the Y to replace what they’ve damaged? Or if you know some of the youth involved, could you help raise the money to replace scholarship money that will not be available to those in need? We all have done “stupid” things in our youth, and no one wants to prosecute, so please step up and replace what you damaged.)