Mountain View kindergarten teacher Sam Thomas wants people to have reasons to smile during the COVID-19 pandemic, through flowers.
RELATED: Santa Clara Co. finally joins the rest of the Bay Area in Phase 2 of reopening
"I just think of flowers that are something that usually reminds you of really happy times," Thomas said. "You get flowers at your wedding. You get flowers on Valentine's Day to show you love. They smell so nice and they are so beautiful. What's not to love about flowers?"
Sam Thomas is a South Bay kindergarten teacher with a passion for flowers. She is encouraging her neighbors to participate in a “flower swap” where they give her flowers that she creates into beautiful re-arrangements for gifts! A fun way to spread smiles. https://t.co/4BmMorGiz1 pic.twitter.com/ABk1Js71F2— Dustin Dorsey (@DustinABC7) May 14, 2020
Her other passion, owning Lemon Tree Floral Design, which allows her to combine teaching and flowers through flower arranging classes for birthdays and other celebrations.
LIFE AFTER COVID-19: Here's what restaurants, gyms, schools, sports will look like when they reopen
But like all small businesses, the coronavirus pandemic impacted her lessons.
"Because it was more gatherings and events, it completely stopped," Thomas said. "But, when I was thinking about a way that I could put my name out there in the community, while also bringing a little bit of joy and beauty into people's life, the flower swap idea just kind of came to me."
Before the quarantine, Sam would offer flower arranging classes for birthdays, showers and other events. She said she loves to make beautiful creations out of simple flowers. The classes let’s her spread her passion with others. https://t.co/4BmMorGiz1 pic.twitter.com/iX2ezd5sXA— Dustin Dorsey (@DustinABC7) May 14, 2020
Neighbors take flowers from their garden, leave them on their doorstep, Thomas arranges them and gives them back.
Some keep the flowers, others share the beauty.
"They were giving them away to their neighbors," Thomas said. "One said they gave their arrangement to their neighbor that had to celebrate her "Sweet 16" in quarantine. So I thought it was so nice that they got to enjoy it for a few minutes before they passed it along and gave it to somebody else to really love."
RELATED: Coronavirus kindness: South Bay nurse says fostered kittens saved her life while self-quarantining after COVID-19 exposure
If there are extra flowers, they don't go to waste.
After the flowers are arranged, Sam hits the road and delivers them to people who could use a smile right now.
Including Eva Sullivan who held a virtual baby shower recently.
"Shelter-in-place can feel pretty lonely," Sullivan said. "Getting these little deliveries helps you remember that we're all still together, even though we are separate and we all care about each other."
Once she creates the re-arrangements, they go back to the people who took part in the flower swap. They are also gifted to people, including this mom-to-be about to celebrate her virtual shower. The gift of flowers from neighbors is paid forward to others! https://t.co/4BmMorGiz1 pic.twitter.com/82pirLNS6b— Dustin Dorsey (@DustinABC7) May 14, 2020
RELATED: Customers raise over $90,000 for Gilroy Donut House family dealing with health, economic crisis
Thomas has done 20 arrangements so far and hopes to continue her new idea.
She can't cover the entire Bay Area, so she hopes other florists in the area can continue the trend where they live.
"I was surprised that there wasn't anything out there about a flower swap," Thomas said. "So, I'm just hoping that people will see this and in their own communities, they may be inspired to do something similar."
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- COVID-19 Help: Comprehensive list of resources, information
- When will the San Francisco Bay Area reopen? Track progress on 6 key metrics to reopening here
- Life after COVID-19: Here's what restaurants, gyms will look like
- Live updates about coronavirus outbreak in US, around the world
- INTERACTIVE TIMELINE: How close was CA to becoming a NY-level crisis?
- What will it take to get a COVID-19 vaccine and how will it be made?
- How California's COVID-19 cases stack up against other hot spot states
- Everything you need to know about the Bay Area's shelter-in-place order
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area/
- List: Where can I get tested for COVID-19 in the Bay Area?
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during novel coronavirus pandemic
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- WATCH: 'Race & Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation' virtual town hall about COVID-19 impact on Asian American community
- WATCH: 'Race & Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation' virtual town hall about COVID-19 impact on African American community
- WATCH: 'Race & Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation' virtual town hall about COVID-19 impact on Latino community
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Symptoms, prevention, and how to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak in the US
- List of stores, companies closing due to coronavirus pandemic
- No masks but here are 100+ products that may help protect you against novel coronavirus germs
- Here's a look at some of history's worst pandemics that have killed millions