Woman sends flowers to widow on Valentine’s Day: ‘The right thing to do’


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Ashley Manning won't be having a romantic dinner with her husband this Valentine's Day. Instead, she will provide widows with flower arrangements and gift bags.

Woman sends flowers to widow on Valentine’s Day: ‘The right thing to do’

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Ashley Manning won’t be having a romantic dinner with her husband this Valentine’s Day. Instead, she will provide widows with flower arrangements and gift bags.

Manning, 39, a florist in Charlotte, N.C., last year asked her followers on Instagram to send the names and addresses of widows in her area in order to bring them flower arrangements.

Her initial goal was to provide widows with 25 arrangements, but in the end, she delivered 121.

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This year, the project is even bigger. Manning told Fox News Digital that she plans to make 400 arrangements Monday with the help of 150 volunteers.

Ashley Manning won't be having a romantic dinner with her husband this Valentine's Day. Instead, she will provide widows with flower arrangements and gift bags.

Ashley Manning won’t be having a romantic dinner with her husband this Valentine’s Day. Instead, she will provide widows with flower arrangements and gift bags. (Courtesy of Ashley and Brandon Manning)

“It’s a really wonderful way to celebrate love with people in our community on this day,” Manning told Fox News Digital.

Manning said volunteers will help her prepare arrangements and gift bags on Saturday and Sunday, when 100 people signed up on both days.

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This year, "Valentine's Widow Outreach" 400 arrangements are scheduled to be delivered on Monday with the help of 150 volunteers.

This year, the Valentine’s Widow Outreach program offers 400 arrangements on Mondays with the help of 150 volunteers. (Courtesy of Ashley and Brandon Manning)

Manning said she spent a total of $14,000 on flowers. Each permutation will have 30 to 35 stems.

In addition to volunteers and financial contributions to the program, Manning said she also gets help from local businesses and franchises.

This weekend, small businesses are stepping in to help dispose of items in gift bags or donate food, drinks and other supplies to support Manning and her volunteers.

“I really think it’s important to let people know that something like this is a bigger effort than a human being,” Manning said. β€œI can’t do it myself. Every $5 donation and every $1,000 donation means a lot.”

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Although Manning said she donated arrangements and flowers to multiple causes, caring for widows was especially her heart.

“I just think it’s a crowd that is sometimes forgotten,” Manning told Fox News Digital.

In addition to volunteers and financial contributions to the program, Ashley Manning said she also received help with Valentine's Day flower giveaways from local businesses and franchisees.

In addition to volunteers and financial contributions to the program, Ashley Manning said she also received help with Valentine’s Day flower giveaways from local businesses and franchisees. (Courtesy of Ashley and Brandon Manning)

Last year, Manning said she took her children to deliver flowers and a gift bag to one of their elderly neighbors. Although Manning said she had never met the neighbor, she knew the woman was a widow.

When the woman answered the door, Manning explained what they were doing.

“She said, ‘This is so good, it makes me want to cry,'” recalls Manning. “She started crying, and then my 10-year-old son started crying. We stood there talking to her and she told us her husband had been gone for so long. She said, ‘When they’ve been gone for so long, you forgot Sad on days like this because you even forget what it’s like to get something on Valentine’s Day.'”

Ashley Manning, 39, florist from Charlotte, NC "Valentine's Widow Outreach" In 2021, 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.

Ashley Manning, 39, a florist in Charlotte, N.C., died in 2021 after asking her followers on Instagram to send the names and addresses of widows in her area. Started the Valentine’s Widow Outreach so she could bring them flower arrangements. (Courtesy of Ashley and Brandon Manning)

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As Manning and her children walked back to their car, Manning said her 8-year-old daughter told her she felt “very good” after delivering flowers and making her neighbors so happy.

Manning said her daughter asked, “Is that why we do this?”

“As a parent, it’s something you can’t teach — it’s something they have to feel for themselves,” Manning said. “It was the most memorable moment for me, the kids saw what it meant to that lady.”

“Our job is to show our kids how to be human,” Manning added. “If we were all a little bit more selfless and more considerate of others, I think it would be a whole different world.”

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As Valentine’s Widow Outreach expands, Manning said she plans to launch an official nonprofit and help people in other communities start similar outreach programs.

Ashley Manning wants to turn around "Valentine's Widow Outreach" Enter nonprofit organizations.

Ashley Manning wants to turn Valentine’s Widows Outreach into a nonprofit. (Courtesy of Ashley and Brandon Manning)

“That’s what made me very happy last year, and if I have the energy to do anything, it’s to develop it,” Manning said.

A big part of Manning’s plan, she said, was her beliefs.

“I think it’s important that we listen to those gentle nudges,” Manning said. “I’m a Christian, and I know they’re from the Holy Spirit. Seeing this become like this, I think, it’s definitely the Lord who let me know we’re doing the right thing.”

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