The calls come in sometimes quicker than Jan Goodman can answer them. Sitting inside her Pembroke, Massachusetts home, this life-long florist has suddenly found herself juggling a small army of volunteers, all in an effort to bring hope to hospitals across the region.
Goodman is the owner of CityScapes in Boston, a locally-owned floral and landscaping business that would typically be inundated with business this time of year. While many orders are being put on hold, Goodman and her workers are still making deliveries. Not to customers, but instead, to those on the front lines of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s a tough time, and we all recognize that, but we have to find silver linings,” she said.
Over the last two weeks, Goodman and other florists across the Boston area have been coordinating efforts to bring thousands of flowers to hospitals across the city.
Many landscapers and floral companies have flowers that are on the verge on being sent to compost piles, since demand has decreased dramatically. Instead, with the help of volunteers, those flowers are showing up outside of hospitals for doctors, nurses and staff to take home with them.
“We want them to know we see what they’re doing,” Goodman said. “We do notice, and we appreciate it. If we can do anything to say, ‘thank you,’ that’s what the purpose is.”
Many of the flowers being donated are daffodils. After the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, hundreds of thousands of the bright yellow flowers were planted along the marathon route as a symbol of hope. While the marathon was canceled this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the blossoming flowers were still finding a way to bring hope to those who need it most. The nonprofit Boston Marathon Daffodil gave thousands of their flowers to the cause, as well.
With the help of volunteers, the daffodils are being placed in giant heart shapes outside emergency rooms across the city. Even though their faces were covered with masks, you could see the joy in the eyes of first responders who were stepping outside of their hospitals to pick up a bright yellow plant.
“It’s a sign of hope and renewal. There will be an end to this, and we’ll be able to resume life as we knew it before,” said Margaret Buckley, a nurse who has been working around the clock at a hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Volunteers like Goodman say they hope other florists across the country will see what they’re doing and start similar grassroots efforts to help thank first responders.