GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Flower shops across the country hope to spread some joy Tuesday while taking part in ‘Petal It Forward.’
The Society of American Florists chooses one day in October each year when flower shop staff across the U.S. can volunteer to hand out bouquets of flowers to an unsuspecting stranger — one for them to keep and one they can pass on to someone else. Kennedy’s Flowers & Gifts on Cascade Road has participated in the event several times.
The SAF says it’s a way to illustrate the positive health benefits of giving and receiving flowers, which science has shown to reduce stress and anxiety and make people happy.
“It’s proven that people who actually give flowers are almost happier than those who receive them,” said Holly Haveman, brand manager at Kennedy’s. “It makes me happy and I know others, it makes them really happy to give flowers, but those who receive them… it’s such a mood booster as well.”
Nearly 550 businesses in 49 states, as well as Washington D.C., Canada, Colombia, and India registered to participate this year. In the West Michigan region, Southside Flower Market, Eastern Floral, and Huisman Flowers also participate in addition to Kennedy’s.
In 2017, the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan was invited to participate in the effort. The organization partners with Eastern Floral.
“They loved our organization because of the message of ‘be nice,'” said Executive Director Christy Buck. “The ‘n’ is notice, the ‘i’ is invite, ‘c’ challenge, ‘e’ empower, so the ‘i’ in the plan is literally invite myself to reach out, give somebody flowers and that ‘e’ then, empowering someone to have a great day and also empower them to pass it forward.”
Buck added that you never know who might benefit from a simple act of kindness.
“We usually put bookmarks along with the bouquets, so the bookmark specifically talks about ‘be nice’ and the action plan and believe it or not, three weeks ago I received a phone call from a gentleman who held on to his bookmark and was in need of some resources for his son. So, you know, passing it forward… you never know the impact you might have on an individual.”