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SPREADING JOY Jordan Fein (on left, a sophomore at The Kinkaid School) and Lauren Elie (on right, a sophomore at Memorial High School), worked with their moms to create an organization that recycles flowers after events.
The bespectacled senior citizen at the Neighborhood Community Center got tears in her eyes talking about the flowers we gave to the center for low-income senior citizens. She said, “Oh darlin’, this is so wonderful. I’ve never seen such beautiful flowers.”
Our effort to bring joy to seniors, veterans, public servants, families of sick children, homeless people, single moms and low-income citizens began in October 2015. We joined forces with our moms, Dr. Kelli Cohen Fein and Gina Gaston, and came up with a plan to create Flower Power Gives. The goal was to salvage as many flowers as possible from events like galas, luncheons, bar/bat mitzvahs and weddings. Thousands of dollars are spent on flowers for events, and usually they’re thrown away afterward. We’ve now salvaged about a half million dollars’ worth!
After an event, we gather the arrangements, put them onto a cart and transport them to our cars or a delivery truck. We then bring the flowers to a facility that we’ve scheduled to get the haul.
For our first delivery, we went to Star of Hope, a charity for homeless people, and handed out roses from the Women’s Fund of Houston “Rockin’ Resiliency” luncheon. At the sight of the flowers, tears started falling down the faces of some of the women. One told us, “This is a gift of love. I love y’all too.” The woman had received flowers only once before, for Valentine’s Day from her husband when he came home from serving in Iran. But she had never received them without a reason.
We’ve learned that small gestures can impact people’s lives in positive ways. We meet people from different backgrounds, some of whom share their stories with us. The best part is witnessing the faces of people transform from a glum demeanor, maybe feeling overlooked, to a bright countenance, lighting up with joy. The feeling we get when we bring a smile to others is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
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