Jenny Mathews, contributing writer

ON A TUESDAY morning at Charie Shields’ home it’s all hands on deck! That sweet, earthy smell of fresh flowers begins to fill her kitchen as volunteers unload dozens of buckets of donated flowers onto every inch of counter space. One of the teenage helpers turns on some upbeat music and everyone gets to work sorting and arranging flowers to deliver to anyone who may need a little cheering up. Each week they make as many lovely arrangements as possible destined for patients in hospitals, care centers, or other places where they might help to bring a smile.

Charie and her good friend Megan Thueson have always loved giving flowers from their yards to anyone they knew who needed a little extra sunshine after a loss, a surgery, or just a bad day.

Creating Brightening Blooms has made it possible to go from delivering flowers to one or two people per week to dozens. It’s not only the recipients who benefit. One of the volunteers remarked, “Delivering these arrangements or giving any kind of service is just as rewarding a receiving it, if not more.”

Because working with the flowers can be so much fun and quite therapeutic, Charie and Megan have also involved groups of disabled adults, children, and elderly persons in making the arrangements. “It’s really fun for them and we love spending that time with them,” Charie said.

Friend and neighbor, Shelley Badger has witnessed the growth of the organization and has loved volunteering with her children. “I have watched Charie spend countless hours creating these beautiful flower arrangements to deliver to hospitals, nursing homes, or anywhere she can brighten someone’s day,” Shelley said.

“She then spends countless hours making friends and getting to know the sweet people she serves. She’s been a wonderful role model for many kids in our neighborhood who have been participating. She’s one of the most caring people I have ever met.”

Brightening Blooms recently reached the milestone of 1,000 recipients! The success of this amazing organization also relies on volunteers and donations from the community. Flower donations often include unsold or unused flowers from flower shops, the USU research farm, a local flower coop, and flowers from parties, weddings, or funerals that are still in great shape and can be easily repurposed.

Anyone who would like to help can volunteer their time or donate vases, ribbon, or money to offset other expenses. Learn more about Brightening Blooms on their website or follow along on Instagram @brighteningblooms.