ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. — A colorful sign of spring is popping up in Western New York this week. The 37th annual Hospice Spring Bouquet Sale runs Monday, March 6 through Saturday, March 11.
Volunteers were busy this weekend trimming, cutting, and packaging more than 23,000 spring bouquets which will be distributed to participating businesses, schools, and organizations across Erie County that did pre-sales.
Bouquets will also be for sale this week at public sites and participating florist shops across Erie County.
The sale started as a small, grassroots effort, but it's now the largest annual fundraiser for Hospice and Palliative Care Buffalo. They've raised $7.1 million since its inception.
"The Hospice Spring Bouquet Sale started in memory of my father-in-law who passed away 38 years ago. My husband had talked to a representative from Hospice, and we own a florist so we thought it would be a nice thing to have a fundraiser for Hospice selling bouquets," said Cathy McGovern, 2023 chairperson.
McGovern said it's also a way to honor and remember loved ones lost over the years and to note the role Hospice played for their families.
"My father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year the week before the sale, and he passed away at the end of June. Hospice was there every step of the way on this journey with him. And my mother-in-law, who was 101 when she passed, entered into Hospice care in November. Again, Hospice was there helping us through her end of life," said McGovern.
For every $35 tribute bouquet that's purchased during the sale, a smaller mixed bouquet will be delivered to a Hospice patient.
"If you come out and you buy one of the larger bouquets, Hospice and Key Bank are happy to go out and present a smaller one to one of the patients who are actually in Hospice. That's an incredible thing we can do for our community for some of those folks that are going through trying times in their life. Just to brighten their day with a nice colorful bouquet of flowers. It can be a great thing," said Kyle Morgan, senior vice president at Key Bank.