PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Many people will now have fresh veggies growing in their own yards as temperatures warm up across the Panhandle.

North Bay Seventh-day Adventist church hosted its fourth annual plant giveaway and gardening classes event on Sunday. This event started after one woman firsthand experienced the help of a free plant giveaway.

“As a small plant giveaway, it started about 30, 32 years ago, 35 years ago when I was a single mother and I was needing food and I went to a church to ask them for some food, and they actually had plants that they were giving away,” women’s ministry leader Bonnie Barrett said. “I had a little plot of dirt and planted the plants, I was so inspired by it that I’ve done it ever since.”

The small giveaway has grown bigger and bigger over the years.

“The Lord has been good and now this is the first year that we’re giving away over 2,600 vegetable plants to members of our community and offering gardening classes so they can get the tips and tricks they need,” church member and volunteer Julia Lewis said,

The gardening classes provided lots of information before people took their new plants home.

“Right now we’re just teaching about the plants that we’re giving away, how to plant them if they’re doing in raised beds or if they’re doing in pots or if they’re in the ground,” Barrett said. “They’re learning how to fertilize, how to plant, how to prune.”

Those tips are used to grow a variety of items.

“Usually a box will have either a cucumber or an eggplant, two different kinds of tomatoes, be it a large variety of tomato and a cherry tomato, sweet banana, pepper, bell pepper, zucchini, and squash,” Lewis said.

Gardening class teacher Bonnie Barrett said giving back is what the event is all about.

“That’s the beauty of Bay County, we’re a family, this is a family town, this is a family church,” Barrett said. “We’ve always here come together to help people. We’re supposed to share each other’s knowledge to help one another grow and you know, God gives us plants, God gives us air, he gives us knowledge to help one another and that’s what it’s all about.”

Church members plant the seeds to start the growing process of the plants for both of their free giveaways. The second one will be held in the fall.