The mission of The Curbside Chronicle has always been to employ and empower people transitioning out of homelessness. From the creation of the magazine itself to selling holiday wrapping paper designed by local artists, staff at the Chronicle and parent organization the Homeless Alliance are continually seeking new opportunities to achieve that vision.
Five years ago, The Curbside Chronicle tested the waters in creating and selling 100 Valentine’s Day bouquets to the community, an additional opportunity for their vendors transitioning out of homelessness to earn a dignified income. Vendors sold out of the bouquets within a day, and the sale has grown exponentially since. In 2019, more than 40 vendors were employed to hand-assemble 1,800 Valentine’s Day bouquets.
“You are giving your loved one something beautiful and special while also giving our vendors dignity and an opportunity to get out of the difficult situations they are in,” said Ranya Forgotson, director of The Curbside Chronicle.
Curbside Flowers now has its own name and website and has expanded to selling Mother’s Day bouquets and, new in 2019, handmade holiday wreaths. The community support has been so significant that the organization is working to open a full-time retail shop.
“There is a level of confidence and self-esteem built through the products our vendors sell,” said Forgotson. “They are benefitted by earning a wage but they take pride in knowing they’re giving people something to enjoy. It’s an equal transaction.”
Pre-orders for Valentine’s Day bouquets for your sweetheart, friend or child will be taken online, with prices ranging from $20 to $100. A small number of grab-and-go bouquets will be available at three pick-up locations in Edmond and Oklahoma City. To order or for more information, visit www.curbsideflowers.org.