East Bay family spreads joy through the power of plants

PLEASANTON; Calif. (KGO) -- An East Bay family is making the community's spirits a little brighter amid the coronavirus pandemic and is anonymously planting happiness on peoples' doorsteps.

During the pandemic, many people have been unable to gather at funerals, but the Gray family of Pleasanton decided to turn their grief into joy by paying it forward by creating the Planting Love Project.

"The Planting Love Project is a really easy way to do something kind in the community," said Christina Gray, creator of the Planting Love Project. "We creating the Planting Love Project when my Uncle Romano Zan passed away two months ago. He died suddenly of a brain aneurysm and his loss was greatly felt by our family and the Redwood City community. Normally, you would go out and look for support when you are grieving with family and friends. The pandemic has put us all in some sense of grief right now and loss. We came up with this idea in order to feel kindness; we wanted to be kindness to feel that healing."



Through a generous donation from Making A Difference, a nonprofit and charitable organization, the Planting Love Project was able to purchase supplies for 50 plants.

On Dec. 29, the Gray family along with ten other friends and family members started planting love. Each group chose five people who really needed love and kindness in their lives and some plants were left anonymously.

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"The Planting Love Project is kind of a way to spread cheerfulness in a time where we really need it," said Lauren Gray, delivery crewmember of the Planting Love Project. "So many people are going through such a rough time and it's something that can make someone's day a little bit brighter."

Some recipients were able to figure out who left the plant and some still remain a mystery until this day.

"The easiest way for people to get involved is to go out a get a plant and just start planting love," said Christina Gray. "You can give it anonymously and some people will catch you in the act, which is kind of fun. Sometimes they will not which is also kind of fun.

How to get involved:
  • Purchase a plant(s) through your local nursery

  • Place your plant into a pot & give it extra love by adding water.

  • Download and print the Planting Love Tag

  • Attach the tag to the plant.

  • For fun, use the hashtag #theplantingloveproject on social media to see how far the love has been planted.

  • Give your plant anonymously or to a friend/ family member.


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    High school student, Sahana Kumar, decided to plant love on her oldest friend's doorstep as a way of showing gratitude for her friendship.

    "I just thought how amazing it was to do something so little like this," said Sahana Kumar, deliver crewmember of the Planting Love Project. "How something that can honestly be done anytime any day no matter the circumstances can bring so much joy to people. I thought, you know, I want to do this as often as I can."

    Kumar tried to remain anonymous but could not hold in the excitement of the surprise.

    "It made me feel really good that someone bothered to do something like this," said Katie Wiest, recipient of the Planting Love Project. "I think it really shows that people care. Someone kind of taking the initiative to bring joy to other people was super nice."

    In over a month, the Planting Love Project has grown and has reached London and the Netherlands.

    "Our hope was always for this to spread happiness and it is such a joy to see people reaching out locally and abroad," said Christina Gray. "The most magical part about this project is that someone is in their house and a gift shows up at their door. All of a sudden, all of those problems that they had for that moment go away. It goes right into joy and curiosity and wonder and a feeling of connectedness. It's so amazing that a plant has that power."

    To participate in the Planting Love Project, download and print the tags here.
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