Eighteen-year-old Wyeth Coulter says his 8-year-old self had no idea what he was getting himself into.
The San Francisco teenager says, as a boy, he was simply obsessed with all things fall, particularly Halloween. "Our neighborhood goes all out, so I loved it," Coulter said.
Coulter was so obsessed, in fact, he wanted to have his very own pumpkin patch. So Coulter asked his parents if could grow some pumpkins on property the family owned in Sonoma County, then sell them in the driveway of their San Francisco home. Coulter promised whatever money he raised would go to charity.
They agreed and that first year Coulter raised $100 for the San Francisco SPCA.
He enjoyed it so much, he did it again the next year. And the next. And every year after that. Each of those years, raising more and more money. In 2012, Coulter passed the $20,000 mark, now splitting the money among three charities: the SPCA, the SF- Marin Food Bank, and FacesSF.
This year, Coulter's patch raised more than $35,000.
His decade-long total? More than $200,000.
"Looking back, I never thought this would be an eleven year thing, but I fell in love with it," Coulter said.
It is, however, Coulter's last year growing and selling pumpkins. He'll be busy somewhere else next fall. "Gotta go to college," he said. He held his final sale last weekend.
Coulter says, while his pumpkin patch days may be behind him, he is ever-more committed to helping charities in the future. He says the support he has received from family, friends, and neighbors has inspired him to keep going.
"Honestly, all around, it just helps you see there is good in the world."