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Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v14n02)
Random Acts of Flowers - by Mario Morone
by Mario Morone
posted: Jan. 20, 2017

Random Acts of Flowers started blooming at 1057 East 54th Street, Suite F last fall. Executive Director Alison Kothe said, "We are a national non-profit organization based in Knoxville, Tennessee. Indianapolis is the fifth branch to open and we officially launched our mission on October 13, 2016. I personally became involved when some friends of mine who were involved in the initial start-up funding for the branch, approached me about working for the organization. I was immediately enchanted by the mission and jumped at the opportunity." Ms. Kothe explained.

Alison Kothe, Lindsay Potter and Emily Sell from Random Acts of Flowers.
Alison Kothe, Lindsay Potter and Emily Sell from Random Acts of Flowers.
image courtesy of Mario Morone
Quan


Program Manager Lindsay Potter said, "The mission of Random Acts of Flowers is to improve the emotional health and wellbeing of individuals in healthcare facilities by delivering recycled flowers, encouragement and personal moments of kindness. Basically, we use flowers that would otherwise be thrown away, either after a wedding or special event, or flowers that are past their "sell-by" date at a grocery store or wholesaler, and we turn those flowers into new, beautiful arrangements that we deliver to patients in local hospitals and residents in assisted living centers. In the process of accomplishing our mission, we are committed to operating with a sense of environmental responsibility. Therefore, beyond rescuing and repurposing these flowers that would otherwise end up in the landfill, we also recycle vases to use with our arrangements and we compost hundreds of gallons of organic waste on a local farm each week. However, the heart of our mission is the moment of kindness and caring that takes place between the delivery volunteer and the recipient. In a world where these touchpoints between strangers can be few and far between, it is our goal to bring a bit of joy and compassion to those who are the most vulnerable."

random
image courtesy of Mario Morone
Quan


Program Coordinator Emily Sell said, "We have volunteer opportunities for every aspect of our operation, including picking up the donated flowers, repurposing the flowers for arrangements, arranging the bouquets and perhaps most importantly delivering to those in need of a spiritual lift. All shifts take place Monday through Thursday between 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday mornings are our floral design shifts. Volunteers come in and create arrangements for that afternoon's delivery. We never know what kind of flowers we are going to have to work with from week to week, which can be a fun challenge for our volunteers."

random
image courtesy of Mario Morone
Quan


She added, "All of our arrangements are delivered in vases that are donated and so essentially, each vase equals one person that we can serve. We're always in need of vases, so for individuals interested in our mission who aren't able to attend one of our daily shifts, hosting vase drives at their school, church or place of business is a wonderful, and essential, way for them to be involved."
Ms. Potter added, "The wonderful thing about RAF is that it's a very simple concept that has a huge impact. There isn't anyone in our community who has not been touched by the experience of having a loved one require healthcare assistance. Everyone can relate to the fear, the stress and often just the boredom of being hospitalized. We do what we do in order to be a bright spot in what can otherwise be a difficult and trying time."
When asked about how the organization's operations are funded, Ms. Sell said, "We are totally dependent upon the generosity of individuals and community businesses, foundations and service organizations."
Those interested volunteering can access: indianapolis.randomactsofflowers.org/volunteer-individuals
More information can be found at: www.RAFIndianapolis.org or by calling (317) 282-0144.

random
image courtesy of Mario Morone
Quan


According to their website, www.randomactsofflowers.org/history, RAF took root after near fatal accident by founder Larsen Jay in July of 2007. He credited the outpouring of support he received in the form of daily visitors and dozens of floral arrangements while in the hospital as a key to providing the emotional lift and encouragement that helped him persevere through the multiple surgeries and challenging recovery process he faced. When Larsen was capable of leaving his room, he noticed how many of his fellow patients did not have visitors or flowers - the very thing that helped him so much in those early and difficult days. The first "Random Act of Flowers" delivery was made moments later as Larsen Jay repurposed his flowers and delivered them from his wheelchair. His recollections of these events inspired him to form the company in 2008.
Random Acts of Flowers not only provides a second life to creating attractive floral arrangements, but also brightens the days of individuals receiving them. Alison Kothe, Lindsay Potter, Emily Sells and their volunteers' acts of goodwill create lasting memories for recipients.


mario@broadripplegazette.com
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