As we send this newsletter, we're thinking about what a busy summer we've had (touching more than 3,700 recipients' lives since the beginning of June) and how much we have in store for us as the weather cools down. We hope that your summer has been full of giving, fun, and adventure, too!
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to show you some of the amazing things we've been able to do over the past few months and to introduce you to a few of the incredible people who make it all possible.
And, thank you for your continued support of our mission!
Emma Hayes first joined the RAF Knoxville team as a spring intern, but - after a brief stint studying abroad in Spain - she returned as our new program coordinator. She shared with us what brought her back to RAF and why the mission is so important to her -
I spent most of high school in the hospital with my sister, Claire. She had bone cancer and later leukemia. She received most of her care at East Tennessee Children's Hospital, from which she was formally discharged from when her treatments ultimately stopped working. I hadn't returned to ETCH until 5 years later on the anniversary of her death. Knowing I wanted to close that chapter of my life for good, my family at RAF arranged a special delivery for me to commemorate Claire's day. I visited the place I spent so much time with my dear sister and even visited her specific room.
RAF heals so many people every day, including me. I could not be more thankful for such an opportunity, and this connection is one reason why I'm so dedicated to RAF."
We have enjoyed a full and busy summer here at RAF Knoxville!
On top of fulfilling our regular mission of delivering hope, we -
honored THE BRIGHTEST WEEK on June 17-23, delivering more than 750 bouquets to recipients affected by Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia. These special deliveries were supported by funding from Eli Lilly and Company.
accepted vases from drives hosted by Franklin & Kyle Elder Law, LLC, Senior Solutions Management Group, Charity Chicks, and Open Mortgage Knoxville. If you'd like to host a vase drive, find out more on our website.
hosted 6 amazing teams from WOW Urban Ministry over six weeks. The group would come to RAF Knoxville on the last day of their mission week to help us clean up our workshop. This year 83 wonderful volunteers served 201 hours with us!
hosted days-of-service for several local companies and organizations, including TeamHealth, Gallaher Plastic Surgery & Med Spa, PerfectServe, 21st Mortgage Corporation, and UT's Ignite Students.
visited Oakes Farm in Corryton to collect sunflowers for summer deliveries.
hosted Flowers After Hours event on August 1st.Lisa Foster Floral Designhelped participants create one arrangement to keep and one for delivery.
Every Vase has a Place: Our Partnership with Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries
Every vase has a story. Perhaps, it starts at a florist shop or a gift store or even some warehouse online; but, ideally, that vase finds itself full of flowers and in the home of a grateful recipient. But, after the bouquet’s life ends, what happens to the vase that held them? Maybe it gets stashed under the kitchen sink or in the garage or forgotten in that weird cabinet space above the refrigerator.
At RAF Knoxville, we receive more than 2,000 vases a month from individuals who know that those objects’ stories aren’t finished yet, that they have more to give.
I MIGHT FORGET THE FLOWERS, BUT I'LL NEVER FORGET THE SMILES
Two years ago, volunteer Sharon Kyker heard about Random Acts of Flowers in the newspaper and from a friend who was involved. She signed up shortly after and - since then - she's loved every aspect of volunteering. You can often find Sharon (who is retired from her teaching career) in the workshop on arranging days because of her love of flowers, and she was happy to tell us all about why she and RAF are a perfect fit!
"I have always had flower gardens at home and each child in my classroom at school had their own 2' x 2' garden space to grow flowers and vegetables. I knew how much joy smelling and touching the flowers brought to those who visited our garden. I wanted to be a part of a group who could bring this same joy to those who could no longer enjoy flowers in the outdoors.
The most important thing RAF does is to bring happiness to those who receive the flowers. Often these recipients have little to brighten their day, and having someone come in with a smile on their face and bringing flowers can make all the difference.
And, no matter how my day has started, the minute I walk into the workshop and smell the fresh flowers, it only gets better. It is pure joy to look at all the colors and kinds of flowers. Being beside others and working toward a common goal is so rewarding. By the end of the shift, you can see what has been accomplished and admire all the thought and care that has gone into what people have done." ~ Sharon
The $35 ticket price includes container, flowers, and instruction on floral arranging.
Local floral designer Danny Busler from CACHEPOT Floral and Garden will instruct participants in a hands-on demonstration of basic floral design. Each attendee will produce a floral arrangement they will take with them and a second arrangement that will be delivered to an ill or elderly member of our community, adding enrichment to RAF’s mission of delivering hope and kindness.
Coffee, water, and light appetizers will be provided. BYOB for those 21 and over.