I wanted to share a just a few of the smiles that were created during a recent Sunflowers for Smile Farms fundraiser.  The fundraiser came about when the owner of Dos Gringos, a flower farm in California that 1-800 Flowers is proud to partner with, reached out to me about some extra sunflowers they had.  It was at the beginning of the quarantine and everything was on hold – but the flowers were in bloom and ready for harvesting!

At the same time, the big annual fundraising event for Smile Farms, Inc. had just been canceled due to the pandemic.  Smile Farms is the signature philanthropic  partner of 1-800 Flowers and my brother Kevin is a farmer at Smile Farms at IGHL.   So, when I got that call from Dos Gringos, I knew exactly what we could do with those sunflowers!

The sunflowers were cut on the farm in San Diego and shipped to the 1-800 Flowers store in Carle Place where they were given a fresh cut and put in buckets of water for hydration.

We had multiple pick up locations, including Smile Farms at IGHL (thanks Joni Lynn for your help) as well as the 1-800 Flowers Carle Place store.

But the location that really rocked was Bungalow Bar in Rockaway Beach.  The team at Bungalow Bar, led by GM Katy Bree, never says no to a good cause!  And Rockaway is the most generous, supportive, community that you will find anywhere!!

One of the lucky recipients of a sunflower bouquet was my brother Kevin, who I mentioned is a farmer at Smile Farms at IGHL.  Kevin lives in one of IGHL’s group homes.  As we all know quarantining can be stressful but a delivery of pizza and sunflowers sure can help bring some smiles to the day!

With the sunflower bouquets priced at a bargain $10 a bunch, many people bought multiple bunches so that they could share the smiles!!  As you can see from these photos, sunflowers and doing good make people happy!


Julie started her career in the floral industry over 30 years ago in a small, family-owned flower shop. From floral designer to author and lifestyle expert, her insight has been instrumental in developing the 1-800-Flowers.com brand. Representing the company’s floral lifestyle vision, Julie has shared her talent and passion in numerous television appearances and national magazine features. She is an active fundraiser and longtime friend of IGHL, a group dedicated to facilitating a more independent life for developmentally challenged adults.

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