Random Acts Of Flowers Opens Greeneville Branch,
Marking Third Official Branch Of Nonprofit Charity
BY KATHY KNIGHT
On Tuesday morning, the lobby of Laughlin Memorial Hospital was filled with 97 bouquets of flowers and around 75 individuals from the community as Random Acts of Flowers, a Knoxville-based charity, officially launched its Greeneville branch.
The new branch will serve the Greeneville community and is the second expansion branch of the charity since it announced a nationwide expansion plan last year.
Random Acts of Flowers founder and CEO Larsen Jay told the crowd in attendance here Tuesday that "The Random Acts of Flowers' (RAF) mission is very simple -- we take what would otherwise be garbage and turn it into a smile. Our focus is improving mental health by offering a moment of kindness, compassion and flowers."
He told the group that in just a little more than six years, RAF has made more than 32,000 floral deliveries and has recycled almost 35,000 vases.
"In just a few weeks it will be National Random Acts of Kindness Week, and that's what our organization focuses on -- kindness," Jay said. "Our 'ministry of love,' as some have called it, is about delivering a smile with every bouquet and making the world a little better with each delivery.
"We are ecstatic to be opening our second expansion branch in a little less than three months," Jay said.
"I have the utmost confidence in RAF Greeneville Executive Director Angee Woody's ability to successfully execute delivery of our mission to the community of Greeneville."
Woody responded that "I look forward to building on and continuing the compassionate work that Larsen and Random Acts of Flowers are bringing to people nationally now."
"I'm humbled," she added, "to be a part of such wonderful work, and ready to begin recycling flowers into smiles.
"The work we do here will brighten the lives of so many in the Greeneville community, and we have been given so much support. We truly are blessed to have this opportunity."
Art Masker, retired former president and CEO of Holston United Methodist Home for Children, was introduced as president of the RAF Greeneville Advisory Board, and he in turn introduced the following officers and board members: Kathy Knight, vice president; Ande Hall, secretary; Dave Wright, treasurer; Pat Bradford, John E. Cash, Regina Lee, Laine Morris, and Dr. Andy Roberts, board of directors members.
CALL TO ACTION
Immediately following the brief remarks, RAF Greeneville's first official floral deliveries were made to residents of Laughlin Memorial Hospital and Takoma Regional Hospital.
Setting the tone for the meeting was host Chuck Whitfield, president/CEO of Laughlin Memorial Hospital, who welcomed everyone.
"RAF was first introduced to me a number of months ago, and I was very impressed with the program and the potential impact it could have on the lives of our patients," he said.
"No one wants to be a patient in a hospital or nursing home, but if they have to be one, it's a nice feeling to receive flowers to brighten their day, and that is what RAF will provide -- that special feeling of being remembered.
"This program will be a tremendous asset to those we serve."
NEEDS OF PROGRAM
In an interview with Woody following the event and Open House at the RAF location on Snapps Ferry Road, she mentioned some of the current needs: a delivery vehicle or small van is the most pressing; a video projector for speaking engagements; an HP All-in-One (printer, scanner, copier, fax, and Duplex) and printer paper; printer ink; large, clear plastic bins; shelving and cabinetry; multi-fold paper towels; heavy-duty floor mats for standing; high stools for work tables; vases; and ribbon.
"Anyone willing to provide any of these things is welcome to call us at 787-7234 or come visit us at our facility at 1223 Snapps Ferry Road," she said.
ROOTS OF PROGRAM
An RAF news release says: "In July 2007, Jay was in a near-fatal accident. While confined to his hospital room, the outpouring of support that Larsen received in the form of daily visitors and dozens of floral arrangements immediately aided his long recovery.
"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.
"Within moments, the first 'random act of flowers' delivery was made, repurposing his flowers and delivering them to patients in nearby hospital rooms.
"The memories of how a simple gesture touched his fellow patients compelled Larsen to form Random Act of Flowers in 2008 with a simple mission: to collect donated flowers from weddings, memorial services, florists, special events, grocery stores and churches -- to recycle and repurpose them into beautiful bouquets for delivery to patients in area hospitals, nursing homes and hospice care centers.
"In just a few short years, Random Acts of Flowers has held a strong presence in Knoxville, Tenn., and opened its second branch in Pinellas County, Fla., in November of last year. RAF Greeneville will serve as the third expansion branch in just a few short years."
ABOUT RANDOM ACTS OF FLOWERS
Random Acts of Flowers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit mental health charity that collects donated flowers from weddings, memorial services, florists, special events, grocery stores and churches to recycle and repurpose them into bouquets for delivery to patients in area hospitals, nursing homes and hospice care centers.
As a recycling "green" charity run almost entirely by volunteers, Random Acts of Flowers is committed to nourishing the health of the environment, individuals and the community, according to the organization's material.
For more information, please visit http://www.RandomActsofFlowers.org, or for more information on RAF Greeneville, visit http://www.RAFGreeneville.org, or find the organization on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RAFGreeneville.