There’s just something about a flower. The rich color and scent evoke a strong emotional response, brightening up moods and creating smiles that are contagious. We associate flowers with life, with celebration, with beauty and hope. There’s also just something about giving. Giving in general, yes, but especially giving during a time filled with uncertainty and apprehension that evolves at lightning speed. Both the giver and receiver benefit from the act. That’s been the experience of Debbie Lavoie, owner of Flowers by Debbie located in Swanton, VT, who decided to brighten up her little corner of Vermont by providing free flowers to passersby recently.

A well-loved florist in Swanton for almost 39 years now, Lavoie has had to change the way she does business substantially, to do her part in keeping the community safe. She is no longer conducting in-shop business and is instead utilizing curbside pickup and deliveries only. She feels her business is essential because it helps to connect people, noting that flowers are proven to boost spirits and help with anxiety and depression. These are certainly all things the world desperately needs right now.
Lavoie shared that recently one of her customers turned 90 and in lieu of a party, the family sent flowers and will be doing so weekly, to demonstrate their love and support. It’s also been heartwarming for her to witness the enthusiastic responses from flower delivery recipients when she knocks and then leaves them by the door with a wave through the window, some even calling out, “I love you”!

Deciding to demonstrate what a single, simple carnation can do to raise spirits and spread joy, Lavoie put a bucket of single red carnations out by the sidewalk in front of her flower shop with a sign, “Please Take One, Share One…The Power of a Flower”. The response from the community was overwhelmingly positive, with smiles of surprise and delight from people walking down the street, some doing a doubletake before returning to the flowers to select one for themselves or someone else. One community member was so moved by the gesture that she chose to sponsor another bucket shortly thereafter and keep the happiness loop going.

Lavoie has been touched by the project and plans to continue with it, possibly changing the location of the bucket so that people from different areas of town can participate. She’s excited about the fact that people all over the community are coming together to participate in small acts of kindness, which make a big impact and said she will continue to look for other ways she can help her community in the days ahead.