This year, Petal It Forward, the Society of American Florists’ popular pay-it-forward floral initiative will look and feel a little different when it kicks off on Oct. 21. Through Petal It Forward, participating industry members from across segments give pairs of flowers or bouquets to surprised recipients, one to keep and one to pass on. The feel-good effort is especially needed right now.
“When the SAF board of directors met earlier this year to talk about Petal It Forward, the first question the group tackled was, ‘Can we do Petal It Forward in 2020 — and, also, should we?’” said Kate Penn, SAF’s CEO. “Our primary concern was health and safety during the pandemic, but we were also very aware of the challenges industry members face that make participation harder: lean teams, razor-thin margins, work/life balances that have been turned upside down.”
Still, since it launched in 2015, Petal It Forward has been a flexible, highly customizable event, with SAF encouraging participants to plan giveaways that work for their business. With targeted adaptations and new support materials and guidance from SAF, the association’s volunteer leaders feel confident Petal It Forward can continue safely this year, Penn said, and that the event has never been more necessary.
“This is a time for our industry to shine and to help people who are struggling with their mental health and feelings of isolation find ways to reconnect,” she explained. “As industry members, we understand the healing power of flowers. We see it every day. Petal It Forward is a way to share that message with communities across the country who are hungry for good news and positive feelings.”