Two years ago, volunteer Sharon Kyker heard about Random Acts of Flowers in the newspaper and from a friend who was involved. She signed up shortly after and – since then – she’s loved every aspect of volunteering. You can often find Sharon (who is retired from her teaching career) in the workshop on arranging days because of her love of flowers, and she was happy to tell us all about why she and RAF are a perfect fit!
“I have always had flower gardens at home and each child in my classroom at school had their own 2′ x 2′ garden space to grow flowers and vegetables. I knew how much joy smelling and touching the flowers brought to those who visited our garden.
I love working in my flower garden early in the mornings. While there, I can enjoy the quiet while the birds are hopping around the feeders that I’ve just filled with seed. I wanted to be a part of a group who could bring this same joy to those who could no longer enjoy flowers in the outdoors.
The most important thing RAF does is to bring happiness to those who receive the flowers. Often these recipients have little to brighten their day, and having someone come in with a smile on their face and bringing flowers can make all the difference.
And, no matter how my day has started, the minute I walk into the workshop and smell the fresh flowers, it only gets better. It is pure joy to look at all the colors and kinds of flowers. Being beside others and working toward a common goal is so rewarding. By the end of the shift, you can see what has been accomplished and admire all the thought and care that has gone into what people have done.”
Sharon also shared a few of her favorite RAF memories with us –
“I was asked to pick up some flowers from a funeral reception in Maryville, and it happened that I knew the young man who tragically passed away and shared in the sadness surrounding his passing. I brought the white hydrangeas, white roses, and purple iris from the reception to the workshop. One of my fellow volunteers offered to help me, and she shared her story of how she had had some of the same struggles as this young man. With tears in our eyes, we made 14 arrangements together, using these flowers. I took a picture of the arrangements and sent it to the boy’s family. It gave the family such peace to know that their donation to RAF was bringing kindness and happiness to others.”
“At one assisted living facility, we noticed a gentleman standing by a side door, waiting for us to reach his area of the hall. When we approached him, he came up to us and asked if we wanted to see the garden the facility built for him just outside the door. He proudly shared the vegetables he had planted and that were thriving under his loving care. Just like we do at RAF, he values the gifts of nature and the joy it brings to others. How wonderful it was for the facility to provide for him this little piece of heaven.”
“We delivered flowers to an assisted living facility in Maryville. When presenting flowers to one of the residents, she shared with us that she was a survivor of the Holocaust. She had no children, so her niece moved her to Maryville so she could help care for her. After sharing her story, she gave each of us an ornament she had made from straws. As a tribute to her, this ornament will go on my tree each Christmas as. at the same time. she is celebrating Hanukkah.”
“I was delivering flowers to a room at an assisted living one day where I saw a gentleman sitting by his window and staring outside. He appeared to be very sad. I introduced myself and told him why I was there. I asked him if I could give him some flowers. He shook his head “no.” I asked if his wife ever grew flowers. He said she always had a garden of flowers, but she was gone now. I selected a vase of garden flowers from our cart in the hall and took them back into his room. I asked him if his wife ever grew flowers that looked like these. He said “yes, she grew zinnias.” I told him that was my favorite flower to grow, too, and placed the vase of flowers on his windowsill. As I turned to leave, he said, ‘These will remind me of her. Thank you.’“