Event Helps Petals With Purpose Give Flowers New Life
Story and Photos by Julie Unger
Beautiful flowers, sweet treats and an expansive buffet recently took over the Wellington National Golf & Equestrian Club during Bubbles & Bouquets, a special fundraiser for Petals With Purpose.
The local nonprofit was created by Brittany Agro in 2012 with her husband, Stephen Halbrook. Agro noticed that after special events, such as weddings, flowers were going to waste, when they could be repurposed. She created Petals With Purpose to share these flowers with youth organizations, hospitals, nursing homes, shelters and hospice facilities.
“Petals With Purpose recycles more than just flowers, it recycles happiness and promotes love for one another,” Agro explained. “That is what this organization is all about, and that is why it is special to me.”
Bubbles & Bouquets is an annual competition where five philanthropist couples from the community compete against each other to see who can create the most beautiful floral arrangement.
Bubbles & Bouquets Chair Jay Zeager became involved through his friendship with Agro. “The thing that I like about Petals With Purpose is it’s a charity that’s really about putting smiles on people’s faces,” he said.
Zeager helps deliver the flowers and explained what an amazing experience it can be. For example, Zeager once brought an arrangement to a VA hospital and got to spend time with a veteran, who told Zeager his story about Vietnam.
“I’m just sitting here, listening to this, thinking, ‘Wow, this guy’s gone through so much in life,’” Zeager recalled. “When I got up to leave, he shook my hand and said ‘Thank you very much for coming by to see me. I love my flowers.’ I thought, OK, that’s why we do this.”
Bubbles & Bouquets is one of the fundraisers that makes it all possible. It’s a fun event for everyone involved.
“It’s something different than what has been done before,” Zeager explained. “We wanted to come up with something unique — something that the couples would have fun doing.”
After the inaugural event in 2015, couples were already asking to participate in 2016. “My goal is to get it to where it is an event that people look forward to every year,” Zeager said.
This year’s couples — Camryn Del Rio Linton and Omari Linton, Karyn and Evan Turk, Christie and Bettina Gannon, Ryan Beckett and Brittany Miller, and Shay and John Discepolo — worked hard to arrange flowers donated by Wellington Florist.
Christie and Bettina Gannon, with help from some young friends, won the competition. “I sincerely thank those who supported us, especially the families who lent their daughters for the design competition, and everyone who attended,” Christie said. “The people, the flowers, the incredible brunch and a wonderful cause, it was a beautiful event. I was honored to have the first-place arrangement. Honestly, the kids did an amazing job putting it together.”
Bettina had a great time and was all smiles during Bubbles & Bouquets, holding her own with the adults, and showing off her artistic abilities.
“I had so much fun,” the young philanthropist said. “The different colors and shapes were awesome, and my friends were so good at putting the flowers in just the right places.”
When it was announced that the Gannons won, Bettina and her friends danced and hugged in celebration.
The other participants also enjoyed the day.
“Omar and I have participated in many events for causes that make a special impact in the local community,” Del Rio Linton said. “With the many extravagant events that take place throughout the county, how brilliant of Brittany to come up with the idea of repurposing the amazing floral arrangements from those events, and use them to put a smile on the faces of an elderly person or a veteran.”
Beckett and Miller met on the day of the event, so they didn’t have the benefit of advanced planning. Considering the overhead costs of large events, Miller believes that Petals With Purpose is a special way to minimize waste and give flowers a new life, while Beckett found the premise to be intriguing.
“There are a bunch of charities, and all of them are amazing on different levels for what they do, but when you have the ability and are fortunate enough to actually see what your time, effort and dollars are going for, that’s definitely amazing,” Beckett said.
For the Turks, participating was personal. “My mom is in a nursing home,” Karyn said. “I realize the impact that a visit, or just a simple ‘hello’ with some flowers, can make in the day of a person who is in a facility.”
She was eager to get involved. “When I heard about it, I thought about all of the people who are in the same facility as my mom,” Karyn said. “A lot of them don’t get visitors. A lot of them, their families are up north, or their families are just busy. It can just brighten somebody’s day and just makes such a huge difference.”
Shay and John Discepolo enjoyed competing. “Participating in the event was great,” John said. “We both had a great time raising money for a great cause. I would definitely do it again in a heartbeat.”
Aaron Menitoff of Aaron’s Catering of the Palm Beaches was a participant last year and helped sponsor this year’s event. “It went fantastic. It was a great turnout,” he said. “The event provided a fun, different experience with delicious food and beverages during an afternoon where attendees could socialize, have fun and be part of a competition making flower arrangements.”
Petals With Purpose is special to Aaron and his wife Julie, who work together in the catering industry. “It’s not curing cancer, but it is making someone’s quality of life more meaningful and allowing them to feel as important and worthwhile as possible,” he said.
Next year, Petals With Purpose will be celebrating its fifth anniversary, so Bubbles & Bouquets will be extra special, Agro said.
For more information, call (561) 223-9129 or visit www.petalswithpurpose.org.