North Carolina Mom Delivers Flowers to 400 Widows on Valentine’s Day

From a story on by Asha C. Gilbert headlined “Mom delivers flowers to 400 widows on Valentine’s Day”

A North Carolina mom is stepping up to make Valentine’s Day special for 400 widows.

 Ashley Manning told “Good Morning America” that she and a team of volunteers will deliver 400 flowers and gift bags to widows across Charlotte on Monday.

Manning used to arrange flowers as a hobby and create Valentine’s Day bouquets for teachers and friends who were going through trying times. Her business bloomed into Pretty Things by A.E. Manning, and she decided it would be good to reach more people.

Last year, she came up with the idea to send flowers to women who may not have a Valentine after the death of a partner or spouse. She shared the idea on Instagram and a flood of donations poured in, as did names of nominated women.

“It just kind of snowballed, but it’s a neat thing to see a good thing snowball,” Manning told “Good Morning America.” “They say misery loves company, but I think happiness loves company, too.”

Last Valentine’s Day, 121 women and two men were surprised with the floral arrangements.

This year Manning raised $22,000 and had 300 volunteers to help arrange more than 13,000 flowers to deliver to the 400 widows. The selected recipients also will receive a gift bag with wine and gift cards from local businesses, Manning told “GMA.”

 “The most important thing that I’ve learned through this whole outreach is that when you feel that tug on your heart for whatever it is, because this world is full of things that are sad and hard and there are people that are aching every day, when you feel that nudge, actually listen to it,” Manning said.

She hopes to turn the annual gift day, called the Valentine’s Day Widow Project, into a nonprofit to reach more women.

“The joy that giving gives your heart is just incredible.”

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