WEST TOWN — A local flower shop wants Chicagoans to help it welcome refugees who left hardships abroad for a better life in Chicago.
Flowers For Dreams in West Town is running a promotion where customers can buy a bouquet and have it delivered to a newly arriving refugee. A quarter of the proceeds from all bouquets purchased will go to Refugee One, a local group that works to place refugees in homes around Chicago and help them start their new lives.
Steven Dyme, owner of Flowers For Dreams, 1812 W. Hubbard St., said the idea came after the national dialogue on refugees, mainly those fleeing civil war in Syria, turned harsh and derogatory.
Illinois has taken in at least 159 Syrian refugees since 2011, fourth most in the country, according to The Huffington Post. Dyme said he wanted his business to help combat the vitriol that has, in some quarters, been directed at the vulnerable population.
He and his employees then decided to link with Refugee One, the Uptown-based advocacy group. Employees even went to O'Hare Airport to greet Syrian refugees as they came off the plane.
Welcome a refugee with flowers. | Earlier this week, our team made the trek to O'Hare Airport alongside @refugeeone in a full-on Chicago blizzard. We did it to welcome a Syrian refugee family of seven to the great city of Chicago. | Our goal was to show that we care. That what they see in the news is not representative of all Americans. Carrying a few bouquets, some warm clothes, and smiles, we were there to display Chicago's hospitable spirit. | If you're interested in doing the same, go to our #linkinbio to send a seasonal bouquet for delivery to the next refugee family that arrives. One small way that everyone can chip in to show that Chicago cares #refugeeswelcome #flowersfordreams #chicago
Flowers For Dreams has since held an arts and crafts day for refugee kids as well as a bouquet design workshop for women refugees. Now, the charitable flower shop has created a way for customers to send flowers to Chicago's newest refugees.
"We want to let them know that we are welcoming people, that that's how we are in Chicago," Dyme said.
Dyme said the idea has been popular so far, especially among Chicago's established immigrant and refugee population.
Anyone interested in sending a warm welcome to Chicago's new refugee population can visit Flowers for Dreams' website and order one of four bouquets and write a message to the recipient. Bouquets start at $35.
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