Writer & Photographer / Stephanie Duncan
Sometimes an idea is so simple in concept, but makes a huge impact. The idea of making people’s lives brighter by hand-delivering flower arrangements is the driving motivation behind Random Acts of Flowers, which opened a location in South Broad Ripple in mid-October.
Random Acts of Flowers is a non-profit organization that recycles used bouquets and delivers them to hospitals and nursing homes across the country. Started in Knoxville, Tenn., in 2008, this simple idea of delivering flowers to people in need has expanded to multiple cities, including Indianapolis.
Lindsay Potter, program manager at the newly opened Indianapolis location at 1057 E 54th St., is excited to bring this spirit of giving to Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Random Acts of Flowers location operates with a small staff, and the majority of help comes from volunteers. Potter said she loves the positive impact the organization has on the volunteers.
“Here’s something you can do that feels good, where you can say to someone, ‘I live in your community and I care about you and I want you to be happy.’”
Random Acts of Flowers makes a conscious effort to create as little waste as possible. All flowers and vases are donated, taken apart and turned into fresh arrangements that will then be delivered to those recovering in local hospitals and nursing homes. Potter said arrangements typically last from three to five days. Anything that can’t be used is composted.
Shelves at the Indianapolis location are full of vases of various sizes (all donated or saved from donated arrangements), a walk-in refrigerator is bursting with previously sorted flowers, and trashcans are filled to the top with compostable material. Nothing goes to waste.
Volunteers take apart donated flowers, clean vases and create the new arrangements that will be delivered the same day.
“I’ve always made arrangements for friends,” said Judy Bracken, who volunteers every Thursday. “I love what Random Acts of Flowers stands for. I love helping people.”
Vicky Nasteva, also a volunteer, said she enjoys the personal connection, and it is what keeps her coming back.
“I want to make people smile,” she said.
Besides making people happy, a 2009 Kansas State University study showed that hospital patients with flowers in their rooms stayed in the hospital for shorter periods than those without flowers, and they experinced less pain.
For many people, Potter explained, the flowers they receive from Random Acts of Flowers are the first flowers they have ever received.
“It’s not a doctor or a nurse,” she explained. It’s someone taking time out of their day to let that person know they care about them. It’s about the interaction and the connection made.”
Random Acts of Flowers delivers to Indianapolis-area hospitals, including Eskenazi Hospital, St. Vincent Health, Indiana University Health and Methodist Hospital at least once a month. It also delivers to nearby nursing homes about once every six months.
For more information on how to apply to become a volunteer, check out www.randomactsofflowers.org.