ANADARKO, Okla. (KFOR) – One of the hardest jobs in the world – is feeding the world.
Farmers sow, plow, water, and harvest, all while battling insects, wildlife, and weather.
Farmers then sell their bounty for what they can. But one retired couple in Anadarko gives away their hard-earned produce for free.
Generosity flows freely from the couple’s serene 40 acres, where the loudest sound you’ll hear is the singing of cicadas.
“You can have that,” Mike said, handing one of his crop’s first cantaloupes of the season to a friend.
Mike and Lana, in their early 70s, spend up to six hours each day tending their two-acre garden, only to give away nearly all of what they work so hard to harvest.
“It’s hot!” Lana said. “I mean, you’re out here sweating.”
“That over there is zucchini,” Mike said, pointing across the garden.
They built a kitchen in their garage just to wash and prepare their produce gifts, which they then store in multiple deep freezers, all of which are filled to the brim.
“It can’t hold no more,” Mike said.
Just some of the couple’s crops include blackberries, watermelons, cantaloupes, pumpkins, onions, okra, zucchini, squash, potatoes, corn, and peas.
Not only do Mike and Lana wash their harvest, they also deliver it to friends, family, strangers, and to the widows who rent the duplexes the couple owns, which back up to their garden.
“Godly, incredibly generous,” said tenant Betty Bell of Mike and Lana.
Tenant Annetta Landry chimed in, “Even while I was gone recently, Lana texted me and said, ‘Do you want your corn on the cob or cut off?’ You know, how many people would do that for you? And I got home and I had corn in the freezer.”
Both women are members of First Baptist Church of Anadarko, where Mike, Lana, and Sondra Weaver also attend. “They want to give all the time and they don’t expect anything in return,” Sondra said of her lifelong friends. “They bring their car loaded down with it to church, and after church they open up the tailgate and let people get what they want.”
For their years of generosity, Sondra nominated the couple for a $400 Pay It 4Ward award from First Fidelity Bank’s Sean Crandall. “To help honor such a deserving couple this week that are doing so much for their community, on behalf of First Fidelity Bank and all of our colleagues, we’re just excited to pay it forward,” Crandall said.
That excitement carried over to an entire busload of church members, who loaded up and tagged along to surprise the couple.
Just as Sondra predicted, Lana teared up when Sondra revealed the reason for the visit. Sondra handed her a tissue and said, “Don’t cry yet or I’ll cry too. We just wanted to let other people know what good people you guys are. And so, First Fidelity Bank and Channel 4 want to give you $400 to buy some more corn seed – or however you plant corn, I don’t know. And we love you and we just appreciate you.”
“Thank you, that’s so sweet!” Lana said as she hugged Sondra while the crowd of church members cheered.
Why do Mike and Lana do it? “To bring joy to my friends and just to glorify God,” Lana said. Every morning we thank him for the bounty of the garden because it’s so much fun to grow.”
It might come as no surprise that Mike and Lana’s last name is Cross. Several crosses stand proudly on their property, marking their mission “field,” so to speak – a place where kindness is always in bloom.
“God growed it, I didn’t,” Mike said smiling.
If you know someone deserving of a Pay It 4Ward award, you can nominate them here.
Pay It 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.