By Michelle W. Jones, CAE, CMP
There are some advantages to living in a small town. One such advantage is the mentality of, “we’re all in this together.” Local restaurants and bars are offering takeout options, even if that’s not a model they’ve ever had before. Neighbors are sitting on front porches to maintain human contact while still observing social distancing guidelines. Many more families are taking advantage of the walking trail along the river.
Bloomia USA is a wholesale florist in King George, Va. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdown of so many businesses, they had a surplus of tulips. Rather than allow the flowers to go to waste, they sponsored Operation Tulip Drop. On a recent Saturday, they set up a few locations in downtown Fredericksburg, where they handed out bundles of tulips for free. Residents were invited to drive up and be handed a bunch—or bunches—of tulips to brighten their day. Even residents on foot were welcome to take tulips. Some folks took whole boxes of them to distribute to their neighbors, nursing homes, etc. One of my neighbors brought me a bunch that morning. And then later in the day my husband and I walked into town and picked up an entire box to distribute to additional neighbors and family members.
More than 300,000 tulips were distributed that day. Such a simple—and very generous—gesture that, sure, is good PR for that company, but really brought so much joy to our community.
Michelle W. Jones, CAE, CMP is IPMI’s director of convention and meeting services.