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November 6-11, 2017

At a time when demand for food from charity providers is high at local food banks in all areas of the country, florists across the central United States will gather nearly 40 tons of food for those in need. Caring Rose Week, Monday through Saturday November 6-11, is now in its 19th year.


Flower shops will sell deeply discounted bouquets of one dozen long-stemmed roses while supplies last, and accept canned goods as partial payment. The florists in each community choose a local food-distribution charity. Collected canned goods are distributed through the charity to feed those within the community who cannot otherwise meet their nutritional needs. Coming at the onset of seasonally cold weather, the program helps food-distribution programs when families begin to experience the greatest financial pressure.


Jill Hennessy of Flower Box in Graceville, MN says "Customers bring in bags of food rather than just the two cans needed; their generosity is overwhelming. The food stays local, where we need it."


Irene Arnold from Charitan Floral in Chariton, IA stated, "The fact that we are doing something to help so many unfortunate people is reason enough to participate, especially this year."


Fifth-time participant, Tammy Holen, at Artistic Ambiance in Minot, North Dakota, said, "It continues to be the largest amount of food ever picked up by the food pantry in our area."


Conceived in 1998, Caring Rose Week was created by Harry Whelden, General Manager of North American Wholesale Florist in Sioux Falls, SD. A former food-industry businessman, Whelden took an interest in "National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week" sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger & Homelessness which takes place each year one week before Thanksgiving.


"Nearly 350 flower shops across the Great Plains are taking the time and energy to help meet this need, and I'm truly grateful," says Whelden. "While many are buying toys and other Christmas gifts, many across America are without food."


Fore more information about National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, see the National Coalition for the Homeless website: http://www.nationalhomeless.org/projects/awareness-week/ .