OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – For years, the Curbside Chronicle has been employing Oklahomans to help them transition out of homelessness.
Recently, the program has expanded to sell local artist-designed wrapping paper around Christmas and flower bouquets around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Now, the program is embarking on a new journey.
“The community showed our small floral campaigns so much love, that we decided to embark on a brick-and-mortar, full-service flower shop,” said Ranya Forgotson, director of the Curbside Chronicle program.
The Homeless Alliance was presented with a seed grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation to help launch the flower shop. Now, the organization is turning to the public for help raising money for its floral delivery van.
“A delivery vehicle is vital to the success of a flower shop, and we want to do everything we can to set our vendors up for success,” said Forgotson. “Right now, we do not have the budget to purchase one.”
Several fundraisers had to be canceled due to COVID-19, so organizers have set up a GoFundMe account to help them raise $35,000.
“For many who have struggled with homelessness for an extended period of time, traditional employment can be out of reach,” said Forgotson.
Each vendor in the Curbside Flowers program will earn a college certificate in retail floral design through a partnership with OSU-OKC and will be trained in the Curbside Flowers retail show. Organizers say it helps them build job skills, gain work experience, and grow self-confidence.
The first class of vendors are set to graduate from OSU-OKC in the coming week, just ahead of the flower shop’s fall opening.
Curbside Flowers will be located at 522 N. Classen Blvd and will operate as a full service flower shop providing delivery, pre-orders, a small retail shop, wedding and event floral.
“Businesses and nonprofits each have a place in this world,” said Forgotson. “But organizations that combine the two and use businesses practices to improve their community have always inspired me. Oklahoma City is such an amazing community, and the people here have been so supportive. We are excited to open the flower shop, and can’t wait to see how the community lifts up our employees.”
The Homeless Alliance is no stranger to utilizing business strategies to accomplish social good.
In addition to the Curbside Chronicle and Curbside Flowers, the organization also operates Sasquatch Shaved Ice, a nonprofit snow cone stand that provide supportive employment opportunities to youth who have formerly been involved in the foster care system or who are at-risk of homelessness.
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