Flowers are the perfect way to express emotions, whether it’s condolences, congratulations, or confessions of love. But as the world reels from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a family has turned flowers into a message of hope.
A family in Winters, California is leaving flower bouquets on the doorsteps of people all over the city in an effort to spread some much needed joy.
Mike McClain, his wife Michelle, and their children haven’t had the easiest year. Michelle McClain was diagnosed with breast cancer during the third month of her last pregnancy – and while she’s now in remission, the mother of five is still fighting the battle.
During McClain’s fight against the disease, the family received an overwhelming show of support from their community. They credit the community’s kindness as the source of inspiration for their flower project.
“We would be home and random acts of kindness would come to our door,” Mike McClain told CNN. “We’d get flowers, people would drop off food, people were doing more than anyone could imagine to help us out while we were struggling with what life was giving us.”
“Everybody needs a little love right now. We got all the attention and love when we needed it so we figured we’ll spread some of the love we got.”
The family of four now spend their days driving around the small town and randomly picking people to leave flowers for. Their 6-year-old daughter Mieka McClain, now nicknamed the “flower ninja,” runs quietly, leaves the bouquet at doorsteps, and then disappears.
To give Mieka a way to actually see the reactions people have to her act of kindness, the family leaves notes with the flowers asking the lucky receivers to share a photo on her Flower Ninja Facebook page.
“It makes me happy to see other people happy and smile,” Mieka McClain told CNN. “I like doing it cause everyone is inside and cant go anywhere, and it is super fun.”
Laura Ray, a Winters California, resident, said she was coming home from buying groceries when she found the flowers on her porch.
“It was so sweet and made me smile,” Ray told CNN. “I love what they are doing. If during this time, we can put smiles on people’s faces, then it’s a wonderful thing.”
The McClain family is now getting requests from people out of state who have family that live in Winters..
“People are bummed out, stuck at home, can’t go out or get breakfast or do anything, but they step out to get their mail and find a beautiful bouquet on the ground,” Mike McClain said. “Man, woman, child, anyone who sees it is going to smile. We just want to lift them and bring their day happiness.”
Supporting a local flower shop
The project, which began as a way for Michelle and Mieka McClain to make people happy while getting out of the house, is also a way for them to support one of their favorite local businesses.
Kristen Karlen, the owner of Roxie’s Flower Truck, said her business was only open for eight months when the coronavirus pandemic changed everything. Now, her small flower shop is a part of the McClain family’s mission to spread joy.
Karlen gets the flowers from nearby flower farms, arranges the bouquets, and delivers them to the McClains, who then leave them at people’s doorsteps. So far, the family, who started the project less than two weeks ago, has dropped off nearly 50 bouquets.
“They’re doing more than just helping the receiver of the gifts,” Karlen told CNN. “It’s helping my flower business, the flower farmers in our area where I get the flowers, and all those people witnessing their acts of kindness.”
The florist said she was “delighted” to be a part of the project, adding that the family has created a domino effect in their community.
Numerous people have reached out to Karlen to ask for bouquets to surprise their neighbors with, after seeing what the McClains have done for others.
“This morning a lady bought some bouquets and dropped them off to the people who serve lunch every day to kids when they do a drive through lunch in our town,” Karlen said. “When we created Roxy it was with the intention to spread joy and happiness and they are doing just that. “
One of the people who received flowers from the family, Jillian Ferguson, told CNN her 9-year-old daughter Lexi found the flowers at the family’s doorstep and decided to start a project of her own.
“She felt so much joy that she decided she wanted to do nice things for others as well,” Ferguson said. “She has been drawing pictures with kind notes on them and delivering them to houses to spread kindness.”
As the virus continues to keep people isolated at home, the McClain family hopes to continue spreading smiles, one bouquet at a time.