Today we’d like to introduce you to April Churchill.
April, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
A little history: We started this organization in late 2015 and have since delivered thousands of flowers to locations in the South Shore and Boston communities. It started by the simple act of passing out flowers when my daughters and I would visit a nursing home. Along with homemade cards and a little visit, I noticed how this really seemed to make the whole atmosphere of the nursing home brighten up. It’s amazing how the simple act of caring and beautiful flowers allows people to forget about their problems for a moment. We continually work toward our mission to bring happiness to those in the community most vulnerable. Populations including the sick, elderly, homeless, women and children affected by abuse, and those impacted by anything that brings a sense of hopelessness. Our goal for these people is to make them feel loved, cared about and give them a sense of hope. We live by the words of the quote by Lady Bird Johnson, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope”.
We continue our mission in memory of our sister, Laurie. She was a lover of yellow roses, long conversations, and visits from her family and friends. Being a sufferer of Cystic Fibrosis, and a long time patient at Boston Children’s Hospital, she knew the impact flowers had on boosting her spirits and bringing cheer to not only herself but everyone who entered her home as well as her hospital room.
What the Reflower Project does: We are a non-profit organization that “re-purposes” one-time event flowers and delivers them to community centers, such as non-profits, shelters, nursing homes, elder centers, cancer centers, food pantries, etc. We are dedicated to reusing beautiful flowers to bring happiness to others. We receive our flowers are from weddings, charity events, banquets and other events where the flowers are generously donated or discarded after the event. We also receive donations from local flower retailers and wholesalers. Being environmentally friendly our aim is to use or recycle all of the donated flower arrangements, vases and any other decorations donated.
How it works: We partner with florists, wedding event planners or we are contacted by a wedding party that would be interested in donating their flowers. We then schedule a convenient time for us to go and pick up the flowers at the venue, repurpose the flowers into vases if necessary and deliver them to a local non-profit center. The non-Profits who have partnered with us and are thrilled at the thought of beautiful, joyful flowers being delivered to them. Some of these locations have patients, residents/members in need of this simple act of kindness, hope, and beauty. The Non-Profit location will give a donation acknowledgment receipt which I mail to the donating party. We email photos of the successful delivery for confirmation. It’s a wonderful first gift as a married couple, and the flowers can continue to bring joy and happiness after the event.
The receivers reactions and comments are priceless! Some say they haven’t had flowers in such a long time and it makes them so very happy. I love to see people stop and smell the flowers and admire their beauty. One woman said, “You have no idea how much this means to me today.” The thought that your donation can change someone’s day and distract them from their problems for just a short while is the mission of our project.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
So far, we have been fortunate to work with amazing florists, event planners, non-profits and of course couples who make this project a fun, smooth experience. We have the opportunity to visit gorgeous venues we have never even heard about and see the unbelievably talented work of event planners and florists who make spaces magical. We feel the flowers we pick up from the events capture the energy and love from the events. The next morning when we deliver the flowers to the community center everyone is so excited and once they find out the flowers are from a wedding or special event they smile and say thank you. The community centers have told me how much the flowers positively impact the emotional well being of the people they serve.
As we move into the future, we feel the need as well as the desire of others they want to reduce waste, reuse and recycle as much as possible. We can provide our service to help couples carry this out as well as feel good about giving back to their communities.
My advice is to live in service to others. Give and you shall receive so much more in return. This is the true measure of success.
What else should we know about Reflower Project?
The delivery of the flowers is the most rewarding experience. When the people at these centers ask where the flowers came from they are delighted to hear that a couple who just got married were kind enough to share the joy with them. One woman said, “I feel like I’m at a fancy hotel and not at a shelter.” This quote is exactly what our aim is, to allow others for a moment to forget their trouble and worries and just be in the moment of the delight of the beautiful joy of flowers. We are so thankful for the outpouring of support from everyone involved in this project, from the couples who are kind enough to donate, to the florists and event planners and of course the recipients who welcome the flowers into their centers.
I also like to highlight fellow non-profits and organizations doing amazing work in their communities. As I mentioned before everyone can make a difference, even small acts of kindness make big differences. We believe in the ripple effect of kindness and the importance of enjoying the present. We thank the people and organizations who have inspired us to start and continue. Standing together and supporting each other makes us stronger and a more compassionate society.
It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
I really enjoy listening to funny or inspiring podcasts and my favorite Instagram accounts to follow are of course florists, environmental, health, exercise, wellness, animal, vegan chefs, spiritual, funny memes, and inspiring quote accounts. My favorite book is “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and It’s All Small Stuff” which is difficult at times to live out daily but a good reminder for us all.
- To remain sustainable and cover expenses such as purchasing of vases, renting of a van if necessary, administrative costs, labor, travel time to and from sites, printing, etc we rely on monetary donations starting at $250. This will be estimated on the extent of repurposing.
- Website: www.reflowerproject.org
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reflowerproject/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reflowerproject/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReflwerProject