On Valentine’s Day this year Ashley Manning will not be having a romantic dinner with her husband. Instead, she will deliver flower arrangements and gift bags to widows.
Manning, 39, a florist from Charlotte, North Carolinastarted her “Widows’ Day for Valentine’s Day ”last year after she asked her followers on Instagram to send her the names and addresses of widows in her area so she could bring them flower arrangements.
Her original goal was to deliver 25 arrangements to the widows, but in the end she made 121.
This year the project has grown even more. Manning told Fox News Digital what she was planning deliver 400 arrangements on Monday with the help of 150 volunteers.
“It’s a really great way to celebrate love on this day to people in our community,” Manning told Fox News Digital.
Manning said volunteers would help her prepare arrangements and gifts on Saturday and Sunday, and 100 people signed up to help on both days.
In total, Manning said she spends $ 14,000 on flowers alone. Each composition will have 30 to 35 stems.
In addition to volunteers and financial donations for the program, Manning said she also receives assistance from local businesses and franchises.
Small businesses are involved to help with things in gift bags or donate food, drinks and other goods to support Manning and her volunteers this weekend.
“I really think it’s important for people to know that something like this is a bigger effort than one person,” Manning said. “I couldn’t do it myself. And every donation of $ 5 and every $ 1,000 means a lot.”
Although Manning said she donates arrangements and flowers for several purposes, there is something in the care of widows, in particular, it is close to her heart.
“I just think it’s a population that is sometimes forgotten,” Manning told Fox News Digital.
Last year, Manning said she brought her children to deliver flowers and a gift bag to one of their elderly neighbors. Although Manning said she had never met a neighbor, she knew the woman was a widow.
When the woman opened the door, Manning explained what they were doing.
“And she said, ‘It’s so nice that I just want to cry,'” Manning said. “And she started crying, and then my 10-year-old son started crying. We stood and talked to her, and she told us that her husband hadn’t been there for so long. And she said, ‘If they don’t.’ you forget to be sad on such days, because you forget what it was like to receive things on Valentine’s Day. “
When Manning and her children returned to their car, Manning said her 8-year-old daughter told her she felt “very good” after delivering flowers and making her neighbor so happy.
Manning said her daughter asked, “Is that why we do things like that?”
“As a parent, that’s why you can’t teach – that’s something they have to feel for themselves,” Manning said. “It’s the most memorable moment for me when the kids saw what it meant for this lady.”
“Our job is to show our children how to be human,” Manning added. “And if we were all a little more dedicated and thought a little more about other people, I think it would be a whole different world.”
As the Valentine’s Day Widow Outreach expands, Manning said she plans to set up a formal nonprofit and help people in other communities run similar news programs.
“It’s something that brought me so much joy last year that if I had the energy to do something, it would be to develop,” Manning said.
A huge part of the Manning program, she said, is her faith.
“I think it’s very important that we listen to these soft jolts,” Manning said. “I’m a Christian, and I know they’re from the Holy Spirit. And seeing it turn into something like that is just, I think, the Lord giving me to understand that we’re doing the right thing.”