Project Not Forgotten: Harnett County florist donates, delivers flowers to nursing home residents during pandemic

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Monday, September 7, 2020
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A local florist wanted to bring joy to people missing their families. Volunteers delivered more than 1,600 flower orders to 22 nursing homes across North Carolina.

DUNN, N.C. (WTVD) -- Labor Day inside Jeffery's Florist looks and sounds like a normal business day as manager Samantha Dupree fills orders.

This is just days after wrapping up what might be the largest order the flower shop has had in months: Project Not Forgotten.

"We have locals here who have family members in nursing homes and they were in here telling us how they haven't seen their mother in months and months," said Dupree. "They're sitting there confused and don't understand why no one can see them."

Owner Jeff Surles came up with a bright idea to donate flowers to nursing home residents.

This effort took a community coming together and rallying around a vulnerable and sometimes lonely population. Kids in the community stepped in to lend a helping hand by using their talents.

"They said, 'Mr. Jeffery, can we help make cards?'" Surles said. Surles told the children there may be 800 or more cards.

"They said it's fine. They'd get all their friends together to make handwritten cards for each resident," said Dupree.

Over the weekend, volunteers gathered inside the Dunn Community Center to arrange and prepare more than 1,600 orders of a fresh cut flowers. The volunteers made no contact deliveries to 22 nursing homes across the state.

"We sent some all the way to Warsaw, Fuquay-Varina, Johnston County, Harnett County and Cumberland County," said Dupree.

According to Dupree, this was far more than simply delivering flowers. It's about giving joy to those who may need it most.

"We had a lady call immediately after cases were delivered. She was outside her mother's window when her mom got the vase. She was just so excited that we did that. She got to see her mom's reaction when she got the flowers," said Dupree.