Flower shops to collect tons of food for charity

Florists across the central U.S. are expected to gather more than 20 tons of food for those in need Nov. 11-16.

Dubbed “Caring Rose Week,” these stores are deeply discounting bouquets of one dozen roses and accepting canned goods as partial payment.

Florists in each community designate a food-distribution charity in their area. The canned goods collected are distributed to feed those within the community who cannot otherwise meet their nutritional needs.

Coming at the onset of seasonally cold weather, the program helps food-distribution programs when families begin to experience the greatest financial pressure.

The food contributed by Caring Rose Week donors is significant, not only in quantity, but in quality. Food pantries receive wholesome foods not available from their traditional sources, and it goes to work in the communities where it is gathered.

Now in its 21st year, “Caring Rose Week” has distributed more than 500,000 pounds of food since its inception. The concept is the brainchild of Harry Whelden, general manager of North American Wholesale Florists in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “Almost 250 flower shops across the Great Plains are taking the time and energy to help meet this need, and I’m truly grateful,” says Whelden. “While many are buying toys and other Christmas gifts, many across America are without food.”

“National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week” is sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger & Homelessness. It traditionally takes place each year one week before the Thanksgiving holiday.

For more information about national hunger and homelessness awareness week, see the National Coalition for the Homeless website at www.nationalhomeless.org.

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