Random Acts of Flowers Turns Leftover Stems
into Smiles

(Palo Alto Pulse, 9.26.2017)

Ever visited a friend in the hospital to help lift their spirits and wondered, “But who is there to comfort the people with no friends or family nearby?” That’s where Random Acts of Flowers (RAF) comes in.

Random Acts of Flowers: simple mission, huge impact

RAF is a nonprofit organization with a mission to, “improve the emotional health and well-being of individuals in health care facilities by delivering recycled flowers, encouragement and personal moments of kindness.” Although their mission is simple, the impact of RAF is enormous.

The Silicon Valley branch has delivered almost 25,000 arrangements to nearby hospitals and care facilities, including many in Palo Alto, such as the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, Channing House, Stanford Hospital, Sunrise Assisted Living and Lytton Gardens.

Recycling flowers from local partners including Trader Joe’s

And what’s really cool is that all of RAF’s arrangements are made from leftover flowers that would otherwise be composted, or in many cases, just thrown out.

Local partners for flower donations include Trader Joe’s at Town and Country and Michaela’s Florist. The RAF team also makes a big run to the San Francisco Flower Market every week to fill up on unused blooms that vendors are happy to give away.

Patients and caregivers love the blooms and smiles

And while RAF’s blooms are lovely, patients and hospital caregivers appreciate the smiles and words of encouragement that go along with each delivery even more. Often volunteers stop and visit patients for a few moments to offer additional support as they bring the arrangements to each room.

“Anything that supports and shows our gratitude to veterans keeps me motivated to stay involved, ” said Penny Philips, Chaplain of the Palo Alto Veteran’s Administration Hospital Hospice. “They are always deeply touched receiving flowers as a random act of kindness. Many are actually speechless as they accept the flower gift with a big smile.”

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