ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – For some, Good Friday is spent buying candy and plastic eggs, or straightening the house in preparation for Easter weekend guests. However, for Aldersgate Methodist Church members, they showed off their green thumbs to provide fresh food for their community.

It was an early morning start for 10-year-old Caylee as she began her day in South Abilene planting dill and mint in a raised bed. Wearing her pink gardening gloves, donned with yellow llamas and unicorns, she dug away to get the perfect spot to plant her seeds.

Soon after, her six-year-old brother, Royce, hopped in to ‘help’ the same way most little brothers help. He was playing with a shovel, digging for worms and eventually found two.

Caylee’s best friend, Keshia, 11, also helped by moving weeds away with a small garden hoe.

“I like gardening because we’re helping the environment and because, well, it helps you relax,” Caylee explained. “If you’re stressed, it helps you relax.”

“Only for some people. I just want to get dirty,” Keshia quickly replied.

KTAB/KRBC: Children volunteer at Aldersgate community garden on Good Friday, Apr. 2022

They helped the Aldersgate Methodist Church plant in their community garden for Good Friday, enjoying the warm weather and their long weekend.

Rows of okra, beans zucchini and more could be seen freshly planted by nearly 20 volunteers, as water from their drip system saturated the Abilene soil. In raised beds, like the ones Caylee, Royce and Keshia were working on.

While tending to a garden might not seem like much, for the Aldersgate congregation, it is their way of giving back to the community.

“We use the food pantry and garden as a gift to the community,” Volunteer David Feemster said. “Focusing on food growth and a green space.” 

Their goal, per Volunteer Feemster: Pair the fresh vegetables with their on-site food pantry to give back to an Abilene community experiencing food insecurity.

Both members and non-members of the Aldersgate congregation often tend to the community garden, food pantry and lending library. While some shoveled away dirt, others did the dirty work, planting seeds or plucking weeds from a small patch of bluebonnets.

Among the volunteers planting seeds, was Aldersgate organist, Van Hayes, who was raised gardening.

“I know my dad always planted on Good Friday. It was traditional to plant then,” Hayes said smiling. “I remember when I was toddler, I could just get out there. You know, it was just a part of my upbringing.”

People of all ages gave back to a community, Good Friday, desperately looking for support, and having a little bit of fun while they were at it.

“This is the one time I can get dirty and not get in trouble,” Keshia said.

After a lunch break, volunteers moved to a lot just down Amarillo street, towards the church and McMurry University’s baseball field to begin work on the Aldersgate Memorial Grove.

Aldersgate Methodist Church plans to use the Memorial Grove to honor members of their congregation who have died, by planting a tree in their memory.