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Flower recycling effort brings joy to others

Posted May 10, 2009
Updated May 11, 2009

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— You may have heard that one person's trash is another person's treasure. A Raleigh group is proving it with a flower recycling project.

Flower Shuttle volunteers share joy Flower Shuttle volunteers share joy

"I've never arranged flowers before I came here a few months ago,” volunteer Elaine Wilson said.

These days, Wilson is arranging flowers like a pro. She volunteers almost every week at the The Flower Shuttle.

"It's such an opportunity to have hundreds of flowers to choose from and make recycled flowers look beautiful for somebody,” Wilson said.

Every week, dozens of volunteers go to grocery stores and florists to collect flowers that are about to be thrown away. They bring the flowers to Raleigh Moravian Church, 1816 Ridge Road, and recycle them into floral arrangements.

They then donate those arrangements to area groups such as hospices, nursing homes, hospitals and Meals on Wheels.

"We get a lot of letters and so forth ... telling us how much they appreciate it," volunteer Mae Marshall said.

What began as a few ladies gathered around a kitchen table three years has grown into a huge flower-recycling effort that has created more than 40,000 floral arrangements. More than 60 volunteers show up at the Raleigh Moravian Church every Tuesday to make around 300 arrangements.

Volunteers say donating their time is well worth it because the flowers help bring cheer to people.

"If you were sick in bed and somebody set flowers next to you, would that not put a smile on your face?” volunteer Beth Uhl said.

It is a simple idea that brings volunteers simple pleasures.

“Just sharing the joy that flowers bring into people's lives ... that's what it's all about,” Uhl said.

You don't need any experience to arrange flowers for the group. They will give you a short lesson to show you the basics.

The Flower Shuttle is always looking for volunteers to help. For more information on donating or volunteering with The Flower Shuttle, e-mail: theflowershuttle@hotmail.com.

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  • ckappsings May 14, 2009

    Thank you for highlighting this wonderful ministry. Yes, many churches and individuals recycle flowers for shut-ins, and they do a wonderful job. What sets the Flower Shuttle at Raleigh Moravian Church apart is the scale of the operation -- florists, wholesalers, grocers, event planners and more donate cut flowers and gorgeous arrangements, and volunteers come from all over the community. The Shuttle can use donated containers, too -- vases, mugs, jars, glasses, baskets. Think about the Shuttle when you're doing spring cleaning, preparing to move, helping your parents clear out the garage or tidying up your office!

  • NC is my home May 11, 2009

    Actually, there's a lady near Fuquay that's been doing that on her own for years. She raises some flowers, but also gets older cut flowers from the grocery store, then arranges & takes them to "the sick & shut-ins" in the Piney Grove community.

  • valentine girl May 11, 2009

    What a wonderful idea and it accomplishes many needs we all have: don't waste the beautiful flowers, share in a volunteer experience, and bring a smile to the eyes and lips of those in pain or lonely.