A few months ago, a viral video told the story of a New York-based service that repurposes wedding flowers and gives them away. This was the story of the lovely ladies at Repeat Roses.
video courtesy of Upworthy
After large events generate large amounts of waste, Repeat Roses recycles the compostable waste and sends still-fresh flowers off to nursing homes and hospitals. There they can be appreciated by patients and people needing a spot of color to their day.
We do all we can at The Ruth Foundation to spread hope. Our team was inspired by the Repeat Roses mission, and thought it would be a great project to have for our own patients. In fact, we knew a lovely couple who was getting married in a few weeks. They kindly, selflessly donated their wedding flowers. A large bunch of fragrant white roses and delicate white carnations filled our office the day after the wedding.
Our enthusiastic volunteers came the day the flowers were delivered. We sorted through the stalks, bundled them together, and tied off the whole bouquet with some ribbon. To top each arrangement, we attached this quote:
Where flowers bloom, so does hope. – Lady Bird Johnson
Over the next couple of days, we went to several homes to deliver the flowers, alternating the deliveries between volunteers and the medical team. Our home visits are usually for wound care and check-ups: this time, we were delivering a bit of good cheer and well wishes.
I joined the volunteers the day they visited some homes. That day, we got a glimpse into some of our patients’ lives. Each house told a different story, a short chapter of a richer novel. The stories are too long to fit in here so we’ll save them for another time. At each home though, no matter how brief, we saw just how important hope was to every person.
The beauty of flowers is in the memories associated with them. Flowers speak of grand events, like weddings and celebrations. Bouquets are offered in congratulations during graduations and parenthood. Fragrant long-stemmed blooms are given in courtship. Even when they are delivered to sadder moments, like hospital rooms or funerals, flowers are brought by people who care and represent love.
When we see flowers, we are reminded that we are never truly alone. The greatest lesson we learned that day was that kindness brings hope – whether through gifts, prayer, or even a friendly smile.