Francesca Lowenthal is preparing to marry early this summer. Her wedding’s floral designer, Meredith Clarin, suggested that for the biggest day of her life she consider donating the flowers after the event to the ladies of Lotus House.
“I immediately said yes,” Lowenthal said. “Flowers bring so much joy and can turn a normal day into a special occasion, especially for the women of Lotus House shelter in Overtown. If it can bring a smile to their faces, that’s all that matters to me.”
Clarin has been a floral designer for 15 years. Along with business partner Greg Goldhaber, they founded Spruce, an online floral marketplace that lets people donate or sell their flowers after a wedding or other event.
You can even regift the bouquet you received on Valentine’s Day.
Never miss a local story.
“People sometimes buy up to $10,000 worth of flowers and after the three hours of the event I noticed they were thrown in the garbage,” Clarin said. “I knew I could do something more with them, bring more people happiness with them.”
Spruce picks up the flowers when the event is over. Then every flower arrangement goes through a revamping process in which they are inspected and refreshed before reaching the new owners.
“We have noticed that brides choose to donate more often than they choose to sell; it’s nice to see this,” Goldhaber said. “We give flowers a second life to make others happy, especially those in need of a smile.”
The bride or flower donor is able to choose the nonprofit that their flowers will go to. They will also receive written confirmation of the tax-deductible donation for their records.
Lotus House received a call from Clarin in November offering to donate flowers.
“It makes a difference in the day of our guests; they walk in and are welcomed by beautiful flowers and are able to grab a bouquet to take with them,” said Maria Carvalho, Lotus House’s outreach coordinator.
Starting in March, Spruce will begin to offer the ladies helped by Lotus House floral design classes in partnership with Lotus House’s job training programs.
Monique Gamble has been one of the 120 women and 130 children Lotus House provides support to. She was a guest two years ago, and now is an employee of Lotus House.
“I see a big difference when the women receive the flowers; they feel loved; it’s very beautiful and wonderful,” Gamble said.
For more information, visit http://sprucethis.com