TAMPA, Fla. — Seminole Heights United Methodist Church ordered a lot of pumpkins this year. More than 4,000 and each pumpkin sold will impact the services they provide to the community.
During lockdowns, all fundraising activities and large events were canceled. Churches like Seminole Heights United Methodist are still struggling to make up for thousands of losses. That's why this year's pumpkin patch is so important.
"That was a big loss for us," Pastor Tiffania Icazawilletts said. "We were really excited to be able to keep up some traditions and help people be able to celebrate the changing season and do something with their families in a safe environment outside, even with COVID-19."
This year, the church partnered with the Hampton Terrace Community Association to share their funds. And the money raised will help support local schools.
The great part about the pumpkin patch is that a non-profit donates the pumpkins to the church and the church only has to pay a percentage of their sales back to the non-profit.
"Our rotten pumpkins go to a pig farmer, so nothing goes completely to waste. Everything gets used," Icazawilletts said.
Locals we talked to at the church tell us the pumpkin patch has been one of their year's highlights.
"These little things are very much appreciated to just give us a break from all that is going on, and I personally without this it would give me a little bit less to look forward to, so I love the community," Sonya Battee said. "That positive energy is so needed right now, and this is truly a blessing."
The patch will be open Friday until 8 p.m., and they re-open Halloween at 9 a.m.
"It really represents what I think the church represents to the neighborhood too, which is community and supporting one another," Christine Pierce said.