By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – People in Oklahoma City can now purchase flowers for their loved ones this Valentine’s Day while also supporting people who are working their way out of homelessness during the Curbside Chronicle’s 4th annual flower campaign.
During the organization’s 4th annual flower campaign, Curbside Chronicle’s bouquets will be made and sold by their vendors who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.
A program of the Homeless Alliance, the Curbside Chronicle provides both a voice and employment opportunities to people who are experiencing homelessness through the sale of its local magazine. In recent years, the program has expanded its product line to include local artist-designed wrapping paper and flower bouquets.
For Valentine’s Day, Curbside vendors are trained and paid to build bouquets practicing job skills like teamwork, communication and how to follow detailed instructions. They are then employed to sell their arrangements at various pop-up shops in the metro area exercising time management and social skills. After vendors are paid for their work, profits from sales are reinvested in the vendor program, funding essential services like case management for participants.
“For customers, it’s a quick, easy way to support someone working their way out of homelessness while getting a beautiful product in exchange,” said Ranya O’Connor, director of The Curbside Chronicle. “For vendors, it’s an additional training and employment opportunity.”
The public will recognize vendors wearing green Curbside Chronicle vests as they sell a limited number of the bouquets on sidewalks, in public spaces and at intersections throughout Oklahoma City from February 13-16. All proceeds from bouquets purchased from individuals will go directly to that individual who is working their way out of homelessness.
Additionally, Curbside Chronicle pop-up booths will be located at DNA Galleries, 1709 NW 16th Street, in the Plaza District; Leadership Square, 211 N. Robinson, in downtown Oklahoma City; and Stella Nova at 4716 N. Western Avenue.
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.
Small bouquets are $15, medium are $48 and the large bouquets will sell for $96. For more details, visit, curbsideflowers.org/shop.
“This year, the large bouquet includes an air plant that should last for months, “said Kinsey Crocker, Director of Communications at the Homeless Alliance.
Flowers can conveniently be pre-ordered at CurbsideFlowers.org before Feb. 11 and picked-up at one of their pop-up booths.
“These flowers are both a symbol of love to your significant other, and can also demonstrate that you care about people in our community who are without a home,” said O’Connor. “You can make your gifts extra special this Valentine’s Day by giving the gift of empowerment to someone in Oklahoma City who is working to make their situation better.”
Sponsors for the Curbside Chronicle Valentine’s Day flower campaign include: Fowler Automotive, Citizen Bank of Edmond, Verbode, Diamonds Direct, the 405 Center, Hakeem Shakir MD and the Cresap Family Foundation.
On Jan. 9, the Curbside Chronicle was presented with a donation from The Great Idea Challenge, a grant competition hosted by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation in honor of their 50th anniversary. More than 80 entries were narrowed down to six winners, including Curbside.
The grant is the initial gift toward a brick-and-mortar flower shop that will employ people transitioning out of homelessness year-round. Curbside will be seeking additional donations from the public to make this happen. The flower shop is expected to open by 2020.