EVANSTON, In poor health. — You may assume the group of women who gather every Wednesday at Evanston’s Levy Senior Center were once skilled florists, given the way in which they’ll thoughtfully curate a floral arrangement.
As hard because it is to imagine, though, not certainly one of them has ever worked in a flower shop.
Donning green aprons, these dozen retirees have teamed as much as make one heck of a “flower power” club, which they call Encourage Through Flowers. Meeting at Levy Senior Center every Wednesday, Encourage Through Flowers artfully turns the discarded “leftovers” from floral shops into tissue-wrapped bundles of beauty.
Although they’ve never worked in a flower shop, these ladies have turned buckets of trashed flower stems into almost 24,000 bouquets over the past three years.
They then gift the flowers to anyone not expecting them.
“We encourage hope, joy and encouragement through the gift of flowers, one bouquet at a time,” explains Christine Costello of Encourage Through Flowers.
In any case, if the women didn’t use them, these treasures would just grow to be trash.
“The quantity of floral that’s donated every week, and we take into consideration what would go within the trash,” observed Cathy Palivos of Encourage Through Flowers.
Thursday’s delivery was headed to the staff and nuns that run St. Mary’s Retirement Home on Chicago’s North Side. Through the years, Encourage Through Flowers has made its delightful deliveries to all types of people and organizations.
“The fireplace departments, the police departments, the teachers, every nursing home,” Lauren Shapiro of Encourage Through Flowers said.
The women are all the time touched by the cards and notes of appreciation they receive.
“People would come as much as us and say, ‘Oh my God, I actually have worked for 16 straight hours, but this gave me hope,’” Ellen Mink of Encourage Through Flowers said.
As the women of Encourage Through Flowers prove, it doesn’t take an expert or the highest-quality, newest flowers to make others feel seen.
All it takes is a heart for doing good.
Every flower, piece of tissue, card and ribbon is donated to Encourage Through Flowers, and the women use every last bit to brighten anyone else’s day. To learn more about how one can help out Encourage Through Flowers, visit the group’s website.