Compassion Blooms with The Petal Connection of Rocklin – 08/29/2016 09:33AM, Published by David Norby
Think about all the flowers that are sold at grocery stores every day—especially during key holidays—and then think of all the ones that aren’t sold. When the dates on their packages expire (even if the flowers themselves look okay), they go straight in the trash. Thankfully, The Petal Connection breathes new life into the blooms. Since its inception in 2013, the Rocklin-based nonprofit’s dedicated volunteers have delivered over 16,000 bouquets to hospice patients and care facility residents.
Jennifer Arey, president and founder, first heard about the idea of repurposing flowers from a friend in 2011. “The whole premise of it sounded amazing—such a simple concept with such a big impact,” she says. In 2012, when her grandmother went into hospice, she remembered the idea again. “You realize what those days are like and how hard it is to have any kind of bright spot in that time,” Arey says.
The Petal Connection receives flowers from local markets, including Raley’s, Bel Air, Nugget Market, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods; and from funeral homes and wedding venues. Arey explains that the brides who choose to donate their flowers typically have a personal connection with hospice. “Once someone knows that situation, they [say]: ‘I’d love to give the flowers and share them with someone.’”
Every Monday and Tuesday a dozen or more volunteers gather to arrange the flowers into bedside bouquets in mason jars, vases, baskets and other cute, creative holders. Laura Kuntz, who creates professional wedding floral arrangements, teaches the volunteers. “The majority of ladies are retired,” says Arey. “They’re so funny. It’s a very active situation, and they get laughing and singing.” The comradery that has developed among the volunteers has strengthened the organization into a meaningful weekly event for those who love working with flowers.
The group has a strong enough volunteer base to theoretically add a third day of flower arranging—if only they had access to more flowers. “We’re nothing without flowers,” Arey says.
The team sorts through the donated bouquets, salvaging the flowers with the longest lifespans, the “champions” as Arey calls them. Between several different hospice organizations, hospitals and residential care homes, about 750 quality bouquets are donated each month. The deliveries are given to the organizations, which then distribute them to the patients.
08/29/2016 09:33AM, Published by David Norby