Each year, millions of couple from around the world tie the knot; with these millions of weddings, come even more flower arrangements and, unfortunately, waste. Luckily, one woman from Idaho founded The Full Bloom, to turn that potential trash into treasure.
A landscape designer by trade, Shawn Chamberlain certainly knows her way around flowers.
She was tending to the gardens at Hospice House at Hummingbird Fields, a residential center in Coeur d’Alene that provides housing, care and more for terminally ill patients, when she was first inspired. Looking through the window, she wanted to brighten the lives of the patients inside.
Looking down at the flowers in front of her, she knew exactly what she could do and quickly crafted a simple bouquet.
After she saw the happiness brought by her makeshift arrangement, the idea behind The Full Bloom was born.
As a young mom herself, she knew she couldn’t afford the expense of buying flowers for patients on her own, but then she had an idea: weddings.
Wedding flowers are gorgeous and fresh, but head straight to the dump as soon as the event is over, despite having a lot of life left in them.
Chamberlain began by calling local wedding planners, florists and event venues, hoping that someone would help her out.
If she was unsure at first, her hesitance was quickly dispelled; everyone she contacted was ready to dive in and help by sending flowers once they were no longer needed.
Local businesses and newlyweds weren’t the only ones to lend a helping hand, either.
Chamberlain’s own children, along with other family members, dug right in to the project alongside her. The kids help with every step of the process, from collection to delivery.
Along with being free, the donated flowers are also high quality and diverse.
As a lover of plants and flowers, Chamberlain loves to see the bouquets as they come to her, straight from the venue, as well as dissecting them to create brand-new creations.
Once the team at The Full Bloom have rearranged the flowers, they load them back into the car for delivery to a variety of locations, including hospices, retirement centers and other in-patient care facilities.
Each arrangement is housed in its own little vase and includes a simple message: “thinking of you.”
The uplifting effect on the recipients of these simple treasures is undeniable.
Just like the huge boost that comes from a small vase of flowers, short notes like these are all Chamberlain needs to carry on with her work.