Gracious Giving

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A few months ago, I got a call from an industry member who was looking for opportunities to volunteer in the floriculture industry. She said she was on the verge of retirement, looking for something to do with her newly found free time. Did I know of any? Well, sure. There’s America In Bloom, the community improvement project, scholarship foundations like Shinoda and the American Floral Endowment, and Master Gardener programs, which all can hook professionals up with tons of volunteer opportunities.

In this magazine, as in your local television station or newspaper, the feel-good stories get pushed to the end. During this season of giving and sharing, here are some great things that are going on in the industry. Happy holidays!

USAID

Since 2000, USAID has funded economic and social assistance programs for displaced people. One of these programs in Colombia is building flower cultivation skills. Run in partnership with Asocolflores, the program trains participants in the art and science of floriculture, as well as business management. During the 18-month program, participants receive a stipend, lodging and psychological support. Most students receive job offers from private companies upon graduating from the program. www.usaid.gov

Make Someone Smile Week

This July, Teleflora sponsored Make Someone Smile Week, during which participating florists delivered floral arrangements to hospital patients, children at foster care facilities and residents of nursing homes. More than 9,000 florists participated and more than 35,000 floral arrangements were delivered, cheering patients at Ronald McDonald Houses and Meals-On-Wheels programs.

“Flowers evoke an emotional response from people and our unit member florists understand the importance of giving flowers.,” says Rich Salvaggio, Teleflora’s vice president of industry relations and publications. www.teleflora.com 

Gateway Greening

St. Louis’ Gateway Greening project has transformed neglected and abandoned lots into productive gardens and landscaped areas. The gardens add beauty to the landscape, but also build a sense of ownership and pride in the community. The group is allied with the Missouri Botanical Garden as well as Master Gardeners. The program also brings gardening to students in the classroom. www.gatewaygreening.org

The products this industry produces can do so much good. Thanks to all of you who have contributed. Keep up the good works.

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