Nonprofit Spotlight: The Flower Shuttle

Rhonda Hinnart ties ribbons on bouquets, which she arranged in her garage. She and other Flower Shuttle volunteers recycle discarded flowers and bring them to people who don't normally get them.

Founder Kathy Reece considers the beginnings of The Flower Shuttle “a miracle.”

Fifteen years ago, she read in the Oprah Magazine about a New York City woman who recycled unused flowers for people in need. Reece believed she could do the same thing in the Triangle — brighten the lives of those in community living and those facing illness and poverty through recycled flowers.

With the help of the Raleigh Moravian Church, which gave the newly-formed nonprofit its seed money, The Flower Shuttle was born.

“All the doors just started opening, and a good idea found its way through a lot of really hard working people with good hearts. It just took off — it was amazing,” said Reece.

Volunteers remove wilting greenery and blooms from the donated arrangements before creating new bouquets.

Today, nearly every day of the week, a team member from one of The Flower Shuttle’s 13 teams heads to the organization’s donors to pick up unsold or recyclable flowers. The nonprofit’s flowers come from a variety of local places: grocery stores like Trader Joe’s, The Fresh Market and Costco, florists like The English Garden and The Watered Garden, and nurseries like Burkett Farms.

After flower pickup, the teams unwrap and clean the blooms and form them into bouquets and floral arrangements. The flowers are then delivered to locations across the Triangle, such as community living centers, rehab facilities and hospitals.

By doing this, The Flower Shuttle connects businesses in the Triangle with excess merchandise to communities that have a great need, like Transitions LifeCare, a Raleigh hospice home. The result is an impactful system that minimizes waste and maximizes the simple joy that flowers bring.

“I think [The Flower Shuttle] brings together a lot of opportunities,” said Reece. “Not only for our flower donors, but for the vendors who donate their flowers to us… and the volunteers from across the Triangle who come to make the magic happen every week.”

Volunteers Jessica Sinha, left, and Laura James choose flowers from arrangements that were donated to The Flower Shuttle.

“The Flower Shuttle has been so good to us for many years,” said Darcy Dye Bowers, senior communications and public relations manager at Transitions LifeCare.

The Flower Shuttle provides floral arrangements to Transitions LifeCare’s hospice home patients. The smaller bouquets go to the patients and their families, while the larger arrangements sit in the public areas of the facility.

One of Reece’s favorite memories is from an early recipient of The Flower Shuttle who, upon receiving a bouquet, remarked that it was the first time anyone had ever given them flowers.

“That was such an eye-opener to us of the great need that is out there,” said Reece.

Flower delivery in the time of COVID-19 has been challenging. The Flower Shuttle volunteers haven’t been able to meet together as a large group to work on bouquets. Instead, smaller groups, of three to six people, meet throughout the Raleigh-Cary area.

A rose peeks out from a bucket of flowers, waiting to go into a fresh arrangement.

However, for The Flower Shuttle director Eileen Taylor, COVID-19 has also brought exciting opportunities.

“We have gotten a slew of new volunteers — people who have never volunteered before but now they have time to do something, and we have doubled our output,” she said.

The Flower Shuttle went from delivering 1,400 bouquets to 25 different places pre-pandemic to now delivering more than 3,000 bouquets to over 50 different places.

“During the pandemic, when people can’t have visitors, just having us be able to deliver those flowers on a regular basis really helps people feel better and feel cared about,” said Taylor.

Aside from bouquets, The Flower Shuttle also delivers buckets of unwrapped flowers to memory-care and assisted-living facilities. This allows for the residents to create their own arrangements — a fun individual activity.

“Flowers are just a very simple, tiny thing,” said Reece. “But they have such power to brighten up the darkness, and to let our neighbors know that there are people who don’t even know me who care about me.”

The Flower Shuttle accepts donations of glass vases that are in good condition, as well as clean mugs without inscriptions or endorsements. They can be dropped off at the storage bin behind the Raleigh Moravian Church, 1816 Ridge Road, in Raleigh.

To make a monetary gift, to donate flowers from an event, or to volunteer, visit for more information.


  • Thank you Flower Shuttle for donating flowers to families in our transitional housing program. The families really enjoy receiving them. It brightens their day.

  • cherrelle b ramsey says:

    I just want to Thank you all for all the Flowers that were donated to Me and my family this year during the Pandemic as we transitioned to The Carying Place for 16 weeks. I was able to pay it forward several FRIDAYS by sharing some of my flowers That I have now decided to start a theme at my work place “FLOWER FRIDAY”.Thanks a bunch!!

  • Nikole Stetz says:

    The flowers are always beautiful. There is such a variety and always have seasonal relevancy. The flowers last a long time since they have many accommodations to preserve them. These flowers always put a smile on my face.

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