Chesterfield flower shop donates bouquets to those on the frontlines

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – A Macomb County woman worked hard all winter, expecting business to be booming this spring.

Then the coronavirus outbreak hit. As of Sunday, April 5, there were 15,718 confirmed cases in the state of Michigan.

But she’s trying to turn a negative into a positive and her act of kindness is putting smiles on the faces of people on the frontlines.

Carol Ban Thomme said she just can not bring herself to throw away everything she worked all winter to raise. That’s why she’s giving them away.

Winter was a good time for her, but spring has been devastating.

Van Thomme’s Greenhouses on 23 Mile Road is in full bloom, but the outbreak has forced her to close just at the time customers would be picking up flowers for Easter Sunday.

“I can’t throw them away," Van Thomme said. "What are you going to do with them if you can’t sell them? Everybody cancelled and you’re sitting with tables of flowers, what do you do with them?”

The Chesterfield plant nursery is deemed nonessential by the state, but Van Thomme has found an essential calling. After checking to make sure it was safe to do so, she’s giving away her flowers and delivering a welcome splash of color and life to police departments, hospitals, nursing homes and more.

“I called people ahead of time to make sure that even hospitals will allow them in, and they said, ‘definitely,’" Van Thomme said. "They need something to brighten their day.”

She said she will continue to make deliveries and that her flowers remind people that COVID-19 has stopped a lot, but it can’t stop spring and it can’t stop hope.

The next holiday for her is Mother’s Day. Van Thomme said it’s her busiest time of the year, but she’s worried she won’t be able to sell off most of her inventory

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