Antonia Serenita, 4, walked carefully through the rows of pumpkins Saturday at Cortland’s Courthouse Park, looking to pick the perfect one.
She and her father, Mike Serenita, weren’t planning to get one, but on their way to the library, they saw the pumpkins out and wanted to see what was going on, Serenita said.
“This is super nice,” he said. “We were just going to the library and saw it and thought it was a nice thing to do for the community.”
The Serenitas and others came to the park during the pumpkin and treats giveaway hosted by The Chapel in Cortland.
Members of the public first had their hands sanitized before picking a pumpkin and taking a bag that contained apples, pre-packaged popcorn and pumpkin decorating kits, said Jon North, the pastor of The Chapel.
About half the 100 pumpkins were gone an hour into the three-hour event.
“It’s been good so far,” North said. “We’ve had a decent trickle of families come through.”
North said that the event came about as the church has been hosting monthly giveaway events, including a back to school drive at the end of August. It plans a Thanksgiving basket drive in November.
The idea for this month’s pumpkin give away was more something fun-focused than need-focused.
“And maybe people don’t have 20 bucks to get some pumpkins for the kids,” North said. “Maybe we don’t have candy we can give away, but help them out a little bit and get something for their families.”
“It’s nice,” said Dolly Dellow. “It’s the first time I ever knew about it.”
Dellow, who came with her 10-year-old granddaughter, Farrah Dellow, said she had told her about it and wanted to get pumpkins for her grandchildren. Farrah Dellow won’t be trick-or-treating this year because of the coronavirus pandemic and instead will celebrate at home with family, Dolly Dellow said.
“She’ll have more fun with her cousins and family,” she said.
Mike and Antonia Serenita said they will be going out trick-or-treating this year, but just the two of them, Mike Serenita said. He also plans on washing the candy wrappers after they finish.