Yesterday I delivered birthday flowers to Downtown Women’s Center resident Gloria on a beautiful sunny day. I’ve moved on from wrapped vases to exploring lined / filled vases, and her arrangement was two stems of white hydrangea in a chocolate candy lined vase. Detailed photos, cost breakdown and how-to will follow tomorrow. But meanwhile, a bit more about the DWC and how I got involved…
Cut flowers are such an indulgence – as much as I always wanted to learn the craft, I always felt a little uncomfortable buying flowers for myself for no real occasion. But precisely because cut flowers are a luxury and not a necessity, they have the power to make someone in need of a boost feel really special.
A few years back, I was thrilled to discover that the Downtown Women’s Center, where I’d been volunteering in an after work cooking club that prepared lunches for hundreds of homeless and formerly homeless women on Los Angeles’ Skid Row also had a ‘Birthday Guild’. Their detail? Planning a monthly themed birthday party complete with gifts for the birthday women among the 47 formerly homeless and/or extremely low income residents, and also hand delivering flowers to each lady on her actual birthday.
Participating was as easy as requesting the resident birthday calendar and signing up for dates when you could commit to delivering flowers (with a price limit of $25 to ensure that the residents all got comparable flowers on their birthdays.) The center also happens to be just blocks away from Los Angeles’ Wholesale Flower District, and they’re generous enough to let me use their kitchen to make arrangements.
This is a wonderful program – I love that I can pursue my interest in learning floral design and at the same time share the happiness that flowers bring. For anyone in the Los Angeles area, there are lots of individual and group volunteer opportunities at the center.
And there are of course people in tough circumstances in every city across the country who would really appreciate a flower delivery- from rape crisis centers to hospitals, homeless shelters to retirement homes, I suspect that someone offering to deliver one arrangement for the lobby or 20 centerpieces to brighten resident rooms would be welcomed.
A DWC PSA and more about the center after the jump
The mission of the Downtown Women’s Center is to provide permanent supportive housing and a safe and healthy community fostering dignity, respect, and personal stability, and to advocate ending homelessness for women.
Founded in 1978, the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that provides over 50,000 meals, 47 permanent supportive housing apartments, and a wide array of health, education, and other supportive services to more than 2500 homeless and very low-income women each year. The Center meets our mission by offering a warm, friendly atmosphere that encourages homeless women to commit to their own betterment and healing process. Our supportive community and much-needed resources allow homeless women to reconnect with their sense of self, reclaim goals lost in the day-to-day struggle for survival on the streets, and move toward self-sufficiency.