At first, they were puzzled as to why people were walking into their business or office with bouquets of sunflowers.
Then when they realized Anytime Florals and Gifts in Brownstown was passing them out around town as a kind gesture, they smiled and expressed their appreciation.
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It was a great way to start another workweek.
“These people are expecting to get deliveries for a certain person, and when they find out we’re just spreading some cheer, the joy on their face is something that makes this all worth it,” said Caitlin Nolting, who runs the shop with her husband, Luke Nolting, and Jackie and Lonny Gibson. “To see everybody getting some cheer out of this Monday makes everything worth it.”
Luke Nolting said his grandfather has grown sunflowers on his farm in Bartholomew County for several years. Luke and Caitlin cut more than 175 of the yellow flowers to hand out this week.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other things going on, Luke said they wanted to do something to brighten people’s day and spirits.
After all, sunflowers are “sunshine on a stem,” Anytime Florals and Gifts employee Amy Hartley said.
“We always talked about doing something like this, but we just never really were sure,” Luke said. “Then when the sunflowers started this year, everything fell into place, and it was the perfect opportunity.”
Jackie Gibson said sunflowers always make her smile because they are so bright, beautiful and simple.
“We wanted to hand out the flowers because what a weird time we are living in right now, and anything to brighten up someone’s day is needed right now,” she said.
“So many people go to local businesses wondering if I have to wear a mask and grumble about it, and you can’t hardly relay a smile to someone through the mask, so maybe seeing that bright, beautiful sunflower will make people smile, even behind the mask,” she said. “We have so much negativity right now locally and worldwide, we all need to come together and spread some joy. Hopefully, we did that today.”
Caitlin and her mother-in-law, Jane Nolting, and sister-in-law, Katy Nolting, spent time Monday going to businesses around town, the courthouse and judicial center, the town hall, the post office, a nursing home and day cares spreading joy one sunflower at a time.
The bouquets were assembled at the shop by Lisa Martin and Courtney Kruse.
“Basically, we just wanted to do something to give back to the community, especially during these rough times of COVID and everything going on,” Caitlin said. “We just wanted to do something to give back to the community, be cheerful, bring Monday morning cheer.”
Many businesses have been impacted by the pandemic and people have gone through struggles, so Anytime Florals and Gifts hopes the sunflowers brighten their spirits and provide hope.
“I feel like Brownstown, we’re such a community that’s willing to help each other out, especially during these times,” Caitlin said. “I hope they know that with everything going on, we are thinking about them and their business and we do appreciate all they do. I hope they feel appreciated. I think it brightens their day, and then in return, it brightens our day to see their faces.”
Jane said she enjoyed her time delivering around town.
“It’s a good feeling. It brightens their day,” she said. “Hopefully, they’ll pass it forward and do something nice for somebody.”
Each bouquet included a card with the message “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
“We’re spreading the kindness to somebody. Maybe they’ll spread it to somebody else throughout the day or the week or just in life,” Caitlin said. “We need some positivity right now. We’re looking to get back to the positive attitude during this pandemic one sunflower at a time.”
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Businesses and individuals receiving sunflowers from Anytime Florals and Gifts on Monday took to Facebook to express their thanks and share a picture of their bouquets.
Cathy Roberts: Thank you so much, Anytime Florals, for these beautiful flowers. Such a nice surprise. And the way the world is today, this card is so true. It does not take much effort to just be kind.
Jackson County Clerk’s Office: Thanks so much, Anytime Florals, for these beautiful flowers.
Jodi Myers: Thank you, Anytime Florals, for the beautiful flowers. You sure know how to spread the love … brighten my day. And everyone that comes in comments how pretty they are.
St Peter’s Lutheran Child Care Ministry: Thank you, Anytime Florals, for being so kind and dropping off these beautiful sunflowers.
God’s Lil Blessings: Shout a big thank you to our neighbors, Anytime Florals and Gifts. These beautiful flowers made our day.
Ewing Unique Boutique: A shoutout to Anytime Florals and Gifts for the beautiful sunflowers today. This helped brighten our day. Again, thank you.
Hoosier Christian Village: Thank you to Anytime Florals for these beautiful sunflowers. They certainly brought some cheer to us, and the residents love them. Thank you for being so kind.