TAMPA (FOX 13)
An East Tampa church is turning a nearby eyesore into a bright spot for the entire community.
The Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church has created a community garden.
"We've grown a ton of greens, mustard greens, onions, this year we had the finest strawberries," Pastor Michael White said.
He started the project five years ago. The lot used to be home to a dilapidated house. The congregation leveled that and started fresh from the ground up. Members of the congregation tend to the land.
"They're learning a lot of life skills, that you get what you put into life. And that's what the Bible teaches us. That as a man soweth, that he shall reap," White said.
The church's freezers are filled with hand-picked produce. Each Tuesday, the church hosts a community supper showcasing their fresh finds. They routinely offer up their bounty to the less fortunate.
"We had a big feeding where we prepared 200 meals for the needy and for the hungry," he said.
In between harvests, the community project is catching the eyes and appetites of those outside the church. Pastor White says kids have been known to hop the fence and help themselves.
"We invited them in so they can come in themselves and pick the berries and we teach them life experience and they're excited about it. Now you see them walking up and down here, anticipating what's growing next," he said.
Pastor White is looking to expand their garden in the future to take up the entire lot.