Ten years and more than 150,000 arrangements later, The Flower Shuttle continues to brighten the days of those who are sick, disabled, terminally ill or living in poverty.
A small army of volunteers keeps this project going because they believe in the power of a flower.
The Flower Shuttle began in Raleigh in 2006 as a way to recycle fresh flowers that are thrown away after special events, weddings and funerals. Volunteers collect these flowers and turn them into arrangements that are donated and delivered to nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, women’s shelters, hospice care and hospitals.
“Flowers are special to begin with,” said Katherine McVey, president of The Flower Shuttle. “Most of these people haven’t had flowers given to them and they often don’t have the income for extras like that. “
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Founder Kathy Reece was inspired to begin The Flower Shuttle when she read about a similar effort in New York City. The Raleigh Moravian Church provided $700 in seed money, and the organization continues to lease space at the church for its weekly Tuesday morning sessions where volunteers make the arrangements. The group averages 70 volunteers who work a casual schedule as they create an average of 300 arrangements a week.
“You don’t have to say whether you are coming to The Flower Shuttle or not,” McVey said. “A lot of people with a volunteer organization want you to commit to fifteen hours a week or eight hours a week, but at ours you just show up or not show up. It makes it attractive for people who are older or travel a lot.”
The Flower Shuttle gives back to its volunteers with a series of lunch-and-learn events featuring floral experts who present ideas and information to use at home and when they are creating arrangements for delivery. The all-volunteer group prides itself in creating lovely arrangements that are delivered from the heart.
“It shows that somebody actually thought about them and they are special to us and we wanted to reach out enough to actually collect flowers, make an arrangement and take it to them.” McVey said.
The group’s website, TheFlowerShuttle.com, has information about volunteering as well as the donations that are accepted. That includes cash donations, donations of mugs and vases and the guidelines for donating flowers after an event. All those ingredients come together to make bouquets of happiness.
“Some of the places are dreary and a little cup of flowers, it’s not a very big thing, but sitting next to them all day it brings them sunshine,” McVey said.
Taste of Greece
The Ladies Philoptochos Society of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Raleigh will present the annual Taste of Greece.
Home-cooked Greek meals will be available for purchase from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, and Friday, Dec. 9. The meals range in price from $6 to $13. Proceeds from the event benefit church programs.
Holy Trinity is located at 5000 Lead Mine Road.
Carla Turchetti compiles Faith in Focus each week. Email her with details of upcoming events at email@example.com.