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Dream Foundation hosts annual Flower Empower Luncheon

Dream Foundation Flower Empower...

The 7th annual Flower Empower Luncheon was the perfect blend of beauty and kindness.

The charity event was held on May 18 at the Klentner Ranch, nestled in the foothills of Carpinteria.

Hundreds of people came together to show support and help raise money for the growing and beloved program, which is a part of Dream Foundation.

"Someone who has received a recent diagnosis, or perhaps lost a loved one or maybe knows someone in need of some cheer and happiness, the program is open to the entire community," said Dream Foundation CEO Kisa Heyer.

Flower Empower is a volunteer-driven program delivering bouquets of flowers, handmade cards by local children and a freshly-baked cookie to people in need of loving kindness.

Volunteers deliver 150 bouquets each week, all year long.

The luncheon also honors longtime donors, supporters, volunteers and growers who help make the program possible.

Santa Barbara resident Steven Shulem is the Flower Empower 'Volunteer of the Year'.

He also serves on the committee which organizes the yearly luncheon.

Shulem owns the company Strictly Vacations, and uses his connections to procure auction items.

But, for him, the best part of working with Flower Empower is delivering bouquets on Saturday mornings.

"I get to meet some absolutely amazing people, a lot of them are not doing too well. I love cheering people up," Shulem said.  "I love seeing their face when I hand them the flowers and I tell them about the cookie and the beautiful card and they are totally surprised. That is the absolute joy."

Twice a week, volunteers create bouquets with flowers donated by local growers. Then, they fan out into the community answering referrals from cancer centers, nurses, doctors, hospices, elder support organizations and more.

The hope is that people who are facing hardships will realize they are not alone when a volunteer shows up at their door.

"Some days are harder than others. Some days when you leave, you need to cry in your car. Other days when you leave it makes you realize how important what you have is," said Flower Empower coordinator Valerie Banks.

Studies show flowers can have a profound impact on a patient's recovery and well-being.

Flower Empower has made more than 173,000 deliveries since it began in 1994.

The growers who donate flowers are : B and H Flowers, Ever-Bloom, Florabundance, Maximum-Maximum, Myriad Flowers International, Trader Joe's, Westerlay Orchids, and Westland Floral.

To volunteer, donate or refer a flower recipient to Flower Empower, click here.

To learn more about the programs Dream Foundation offers, click here.
 


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