When Temecula-area wedding florist Heather Christian Manley received word that three weddings planned for this weekend had been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, she had a problem on her hands.
“I had to pay a couple of thousand dollars for the flowers for those weddings, and I wanted to do something with the flowers for good,” she said. “I just didn’t want them to sit in my shop and go to waste.”
With the help of her sons, some friends and industry colleagues, Manley went about creating hundreds of mini bouquets of flowers. Then over the next two days, they delivered them to homes on city streets as well as senior citizen communities.
“I thought, ‘Well, I’m sure there’s a lot of people that can use cheering up today,’” Manley said.
On Wednesday, March 18, it was just Manley and her sons delivering flowers in a couple of neighborhoods.
“We’re having a good time,” she said. “It’s a good lesson for my boys to learn, and it is helping keep me calm and not get overwhelmed with the situation. I’m trying to make some lemonade out of lemons.”
Manley belongs to a private Facebook group with several other local wedding florists in the area. She put out a call for more help, and they responded.
A group of more than a half dozen hit the streets Thursday, March 19.
“Sheila from Soiree and then Brandi Nicole Floral and a woman named Karese from Detailed Floral Design, who I just met, they all volunteered and jumped in. They came over, and then we busted out all of those bouquets and they helped take them out.”
They handed out more than 300 bouquets.
“But I would say it was definitely more than that,” Manley said.
They visited an assisted living facility and gave flowers to the staff and residents.
“They had 50 residents at that retirement assisted living home, and everybody that lives there has memory loss and memory impairment,” Manley said. “That was the first like 50 to 60 bouquets on Thursday.
“Then we went up and down three blocks and did every single house on those streets,” she said. “And it was so cool cause people were coming out saying, ‘Thank you!’ I had a few left so I delivered to a girl who is suffering from brain cancer.”
Manley said they were careful not to interact face to face with people they were delivering to, as much as they could, but said they could often year people yelling “Thank you” at them as they walked on down the street.
She also didn’t do it for the publicity.
“On Temecula Talk yesterday, somebody posted a picture of the bouquet, and they’re like, ‘Did anybody else get one of these?’ I didn’t put my name on there; I just put a little message on there. It is kind of fun because I’ve seen them popping up now on Facebook from random people. One of my friends said, ‘Hey, look. Your flowers are a hit.’ That’s was what I wanted. I just wanted it to be a little treat. So, it worked out really well.
“This was just a good way to spread cheer. I think we just really need it right now as a community,” Manley said.
Jeff Pack can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.