By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – After the success of two recent Valentine’s Day campaigns, The Curbside Chronicle wanted to expanding its floral sales to help more people who are homeless. Soon after the holiday campaign, the eight grade class at Westminster School reached out to get involved with the Curbside’s mission.
The sales of The Curbside Chronicle, a program of the Homeless Alliance, provide a voice and employment opportunities to people who are experiencing homelessness.
The Curbside program has expanded its product line to include local artist-designed wrapping paper around Christmas and flower bouquets for Valentine’s Day.
“After Valentine’s Day, we got a lot of positive feedback from the community and folks who wanted us to offer flowers during other times of year,” said Ranya Forgotson, program director of The Curbside Chronicle program of the Homeless Alliance. “When the students at Westminster reached out, we were thankful to be given the opportunity to grow the campaign.”.
As part of Westminster School’s community service learning curriculum, eighth grade students focus on learning more about the issue of poverty. The class collectively decided to partner with an organization in the community that is helping people earn money and end their homelessness.
While at Westminster, the students have built a class fund with proceeds from other curricular experiences like seventh grade businesses. Upon graduation, each class gets to determine how to invest these funds. The class of 2018 chose to sponsor The Curbside Chronicle’s Mother’s Day flower campaign this May and support their vendor program, offering case management and supportive services to people working their way out of homelessness.
“As part of our Community Service Learning program at Westminster, our eighth grade class has learned a lot about poverty and homelessness – especially in Oklahoma,” said Sarah Cate, eighth grade student at Westminster. “Partnering with the Curbside Chronicle on the Mother’s Day flowers program has really allowed us to apply what we’ve learned to help our community and people in need,” Cate added.
“Through our partnership with Curbside, we’ve been able to help design the bouquets, determine a new location for where the flowers would be sold and even work to create a radio ad to help promote sales.”
The Plant Shoppe staff has joined the students to give design guidance to vendors who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness how to make and sell flower bouquets.
Small bouquets will be sold for $12, medium for $30 and large bouquets will be sold for $65. Every bouquet sold this Mother’s Day will be hand-assembled by vendors of The Curbside Chronicle, allowing them to learn and practice new skills.
Vendors wearing green Curbside Chronicle vests will be easy to spot while selling the small bouquets on sidewalks, in public spaces and at intersections throughout the Oklahoma City area from May 10-13. While working their way out of homelessness, Curbside vendors will keep all proceeds from each bouquet sold.
The Curbside Chronicle will also have pop-up booths located in three locations – The Plaza District at DNA Galleries at 1709 NW 16th Street, inside Stella Nova Coffee at 4716 N. Western, and inside of Leadership Square, at 211 N. Robinson in downtown Oklahoma City.
All proceeds from booth purchases will support The Curbside Chronicle’s mission of employing and empowering men and women transitioning out of homelessness in Oklahoma City.
Flowers can be pre-ordered at CurbsideFlowers.org and picked-up at one of their pop-up booths.
The campaign is made possible through the generosity of sponsors including Westminster School, Fowler Automotive, Tyler Media, the Plant Shoppe and Oklahoma Flower Market.
The Curbside Chronicle is the state’s first and only street paper created to provide both a voice and employment opportunities for people who are homeless. In addition to providing a source of income, The Curbside works with its vendors to break down barriers to traditional employment and develop time management, money management and social skills.
Street papers like The Curbside Chronicle enable people to earn enough money to get into housing and end their homelessness.