Charming floral arrangements set in a teacup have warmed the spaces and spirits of lonely seniors in residential care homes for nearly a decade. To date, more than 55,684 of these individually handcrafted bouquets utilizing over 104,799 volunteer hours have been assembled and twice weekly delivered by The Flower Angels, a self-funded project of Community Connections, an organization that provides day habilitation, a wide variety of life and vocational skills, and social engagement opportunities and programs to individuals with disabilities, the Flower Angels began its mission to address the isolation and loneliness felt by elderly patients in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospice centers, and hospitals. Before the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic, Individuals enrolled in Community Connections programs were very active in the flower deliveries, and as restrictions begin to lift in the facilities the hope is that the Community Connections group will once again be able to take on the enriching and involved roll in the community that they so enjoy.
In the meantime, volunteers gather on Mondays and Thursdays at the workshop to pick apart and artfully reassemble the bundles of buds and blossoms generously donated by local grocery stores, wedding venues, and funeral homes, and adhere the teacups with the complimentary saucers that will serve as the base. Adele Lally, Workshop Coordinator, also manages the team of committed volunteers who come week after week.
Like the workshop, the Flower Angels Thrift Store in South Yarmouth is made possible by contributions of gifts and donations from the community. The Flower Angels Thrift Store opened in June of 2022 and recently celebrated its Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce. Often landmarked by its colorfully illustrated namesake van parked in the front of the lot, the thrift shop/workshop combo is conveniently located on Rt. 28 in the Lighthouse Landing Shopping Plaza. Though it is clearly visible from the street the shop, while swiftly approaching its first birthday, is still a pleasant surprise to many who walk through its doors.
Thrift Store Manager Tara Weatherbee says, “I feel like a lot of people still don’t realize that this is a thrift store.” She elaborates, “We are here to support the amazing mission that the Flower Angels do. And it’s shopping for a great cause! I think it’s still not out there that the thrift store exists.” It makes sense. While the Flower Angels are locally renowned for the heartwarming arrangements handmade in the adjoining workshop, they don’t yet seem to conjure the collective minds of bargainers on the hunt for an exhilarating thrift. Nevertheless, it has begun to gain traction with a small following of dedicated shoppers who stop in regularly to peruse the store and lay claim to the newest trinkets that adorn the shelves. What you won’t find at the Flower Angels Thrift Store is junk. Each piece selected to be put out for sale is ready to be gifted or enjoyed on display at home. Much of what can be found here are boutique-quality items for genuine thrift store prices.
This seemingly secret-in-plain-sight thrift store contains such an unexpected bounty it’s easy to lose track of the minutes spent browsing and chatting with the friendly staff. It has a cottage-chic meets favorite-auntie’s-closet vibe, with lots of framed wall art, and a rack of tenderly used pocketbooks and clutches. Silk scarves, table linens, and beautifully presented hydrangeas and azaleas are displayed for sale amid vintage garden-themed coffee table books and magazines. Unique pieces of sparkling costume jewelry are tucked away like Easter eggs amongst milky pastel glass vases, decorative baskets, and lacey doilies. A family of gently worn gnomes sits in wait amongst a display of garden tools, ceramic and terra cotta planters, and seed packets.
Tara mentions plans to expand the thrift store space to make room for more home highlight pieces. “Right now our main focus is going to be adding accent piece furniture, we are looking for small furniture pieces as well as gently or new garden items. Fairy garden stuff, gnomes, flowerpots, and any kind of gardening tools that are gently used. That’s what we’re focused on.” She goes on to say, “We do normally advertise what we’re looking for on social media, our Facebook page.
New items pop up as quickly as they disappear off the shelves. “People will call me or they will just show up during the hours that I’m open and they just bring in donations,” Tara mentions, as a customer carrying her chosen creamy leather handbag boasting a $7 price tag in the crook of her elbow, eyeballs a blue whale glug pitcher still with its original tags, and an additional handwritten price tag of $3.50. Minutes later Tara rings up the purchase and hands the smiling patron their carefully packed paper bag of merchandise. The bells hanging on the door jingle on her way out, and a breeze flutters the sheer curtains of the front window as it closes behind her.
Visit the Flower Angels Thrift Store
851 Route 28 #3, South Yarmouth, Massachusetts
Current Thrift Store Hours are Wednesday- Saturday 10-3
Starting Mid-May the hours will be Tuesday-Saturday 10-4
Do you want to support the cause? Donations to the Flower Angels are always welcome.
The Flower Angels are delighted to present another “Flowers After Hours” event on May 22nd from 5:30 pm -7:30 pm at the workshop.
At this event, you will make a floral arrangement to bring home for yourself or a loved one. The Thrift Store will also be open for shopping during this time. Tickets are limited and available for purchase.
(Britt Skinner is a freelance writer.)
This blog is funded through the Town of Yarmouth’s Tourism Revenue Preservation Fund.