by Sue Walton, Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago
Members of the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago (EHSC) are engaging in Random Acts of Flowers, a program where dedicated volunteers recycle and repurpose flowers and deliver beautiful bouquets and moments of kindness to individuals in healthcare facilities. As a recycling “green” nonprofit organization run almost entirely by volunteers, Random Acts of Flowers is committed to nourishing the health of the environment, individuals, and communities around the country.
We found out about Random Acts of Flowers when EHSC member Edie Walton (mother of my husband, former AEU Board VP, Scott Walton) unexpectedly was admitted to the hospital last August. On the third day of being in the hospital, Edie received a lovely bouquet of roses with a card enclosed from Random Acts of Flowers. Six weeks later, Edie and I were at the hospital for tests when we again saw another Random Acts arrangement. After reading an article about volunteer opportunities with the group I contacted the local office.
Soon I joined ten other Ethical Humanist volunteers to deconstruct flowers that had not been sold. Deconstructing involves taking off the wrapping around bunches and selecting blooms that will last at least two weeks. We did this by shaking the bloom and pressing it. Then we stripped off the leaves and cut off the bottoms leaving approximately an 18-inch flower that we put in water.
The Society’s shift was the day after Valentine’s Day for three hours. We were allowed to take the rejects home with us. I was able to take a bouquet to Edie that lasted over a week. We also did a massive vase collection for six weeks and collected over 100 vases from our members and friends. We hope to work with Random Acts of Flowers quarterly.