INDIANAPOLIS — Sometimes, there is a vase just calling your name.
Jen Schiff, volunteer, takes a vase donated from a shelf of hundreds at a Broad Ripple Shop.
Schiff isn’t a professional florist but she has been volunteering her time with Random Acts of Flowers Indianapolis for the past few years.
She tells me that she has a lot of flowers and it is easy to pick the right stems.
Schiff is among the 400 volunteers who deliver flowers to patients across Indianapolis. This month, the organization marks five years of existence in Indianapolis.
Lindsay Potter, the program director, collects donated flowers from local florists, wholesalers and grocery stores.
They take the flowers that are still alive but have been discarded after events or placed on shelves. They sort and store those flowers at Broad Ripple. Volunteers are needed to help with the arrangements.
Potter says that this is the best part. “The energy of our volunteers.”
Once the arrangements have been completed, volunteers add a note to the recipient and the flowers are loaded into a truck for delivery to the local health care facilities.
Flowers are delivered surprise to patients in need of medical or nursing home care.
Potter says, “The surprise when they knock on your door expecting one thing and you have this beautiful surprise for their, and it’s an gesture from the whole community to say, Ya know, you aren’t alone in this,” There are times when there is tears and confusion, but it’s important to be able make human connections.
Potter said that the pandemic is extremely debilitating for patients in health care facilities. Flowers are one gesture to show support.
The original founder of the organization was a man who worked in a hospital and noticed that many patients did not receive visits or deliveries. He started donating flowers to help them, and eventually it expanded to several cities.
It works, it meets a need for floral waste to be recycled and makes people smile.
When they refer to floral waste, they mean stunning flowers with days left in them.
Potter said that all of Potter’s volunteers were shocked at the flowers’ quality, particularly the first time they came in.
This “Random Act of Flowers”, which is delivered to our community, requires a collective effort.
Potter says that there are people who can do everything for us, including picking up flowers from the grocery store, washing them, driving vase drives, as well as people who work with flowers. There are people who have been florists for their whole lives, while others have never worked with flowers.
She thinks carefully about who might receive the gift, and she is a volunteer Schiff.
Schiff says, “When you have these together, sometimes you think about, I wonder who will receive this?” “And who doesn’t like flowers?”
Random Acts of Flowers have delivered over 90,000 flowers to our community within five years. They’re still going strong.
You can learn more about the ways we can help you by visiting RAFindy.org.
Lauren Casey, WRTV, first reported the story.