Good fences don’t make good neighbours but a flower can do the trick.
David Ghent, a Brampton florist, will be giving away dozens of free roses to people, Wednesday, Sept. 1 between 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. as part of the Good Neighbour Day, provided they keep one bloom for themselves and offer the rest to neighbours or strangers as a gesture of goodwill.
Three other florists from the city have jumped on the initiative they said will help foster a spirit of community and harmony. The participating stores are requesting people who plan to drop by the stores to bring in a non-perishable food item or make a small donation to benefit Knights Table, a Brampton-based food bank and soup kitchen.
The idea behind the Good Neighbour Day started after Florist Transworld Delivery (FTD), a U.S floral wire company, decided to launch it 16 years ago. Soon, others across North America began embracing the concept that grew from strength to strength, said Ghent, who owns Flora All Occasions Flowers and Gifts, located at 380 Bovaird Dr. E. in the Contestoga Plaza.
Last year, Ghent distributed some 220-dozen roses as part of the initiative, and in the process collected 650 pounds of food for Knights Table. This year, he hopes to surpass that amount.
“Good Neighbour Day is a way to give back to the community,” said Ghent, who started the initiative in Brampton three years ago. “Anybody who walks through the front door of the store gets the flowers as long as they give 11 roses away. Right now, the floral industry is hurting and is under attack because of the economy, people selling flowers on the Internet and flowers being sold by local grocery stores, but we’re still surviving, so I decided to add a food drive component to the initiative.”
Last year, one of Ghent’s customers decided to share the blooms with people from her street. The woman was initially skeptical about offering a flower to her next door neighbour.
Even though the two shared a fence, their relationship was hostile. But the woman changed her mind. As soon as the flower exchanged hands, hostility gave way to a truce.
“We hope the people of Brampton will be able to get acquainted with new people or will renew an old friendship during FTD Good Neighbour Day,” said Ghent. “We hope to help create a friendlier, more caring and compassionate world, starting right here in Brampton.”
Participating florists include: Roses and Violets (184 Queen St. E.), Shalimar Flower Shop (227 Queen St. E.) and Tula’s Flowers and Gifts (8887 The Gore Rd. The stores will give away free flowers between 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.