Clinton County Shines for Daffodil Days

PHOTO PROVIDED Members of the Flowers of Hope Team at the Daffodil Days kick-off meeting on January 9.

LOCK HAVEN — It may be the middle of winter, but there’s a bright spot in Clinton County.

The annual Daffodil Days fundraiser for the American Cancer Society began on Jan. 9 with a kick-off meeting at the Dutch Haven Restaurant.

Made up of volunteers from across the county, the Flowers of Hope team takes pride in bringing daffodils, a symbol of hope and one of the first flowers of spring, to the area each year. From now until March 8, they will be taking orders for bunches of bright yellow daffodil stems, potted daffodils and potted tulips in preparation for Daffodil Days, which will be held during the week of March 18 in Clinton County.

Dr. Debra Burrows, who coordinates Daffodil Days activities locally, believes the event brings out the best in people. According to Burrows, “As soon as the holiday season is over, friends, family, and even people I’ve never met contact me about Daffodil Days. They volunteer to make deliveries, take orders, or do whatever is needed. Last week I answered the phone and a voice said, ‘Hello, I’m reporting for Daffodil duty.’ That kind of community commitment really warms your heart.”

It takes a lot of work to order, sell, pack and deliver thousands of daffodils and tulips each year, but Flowers of Hope team members have shown that they are more than equal to the task. Many of them have been volunteering for Daffodil Days for decades.

Work actually begins in the fall, when they place orders for potted bulbs from a Pennsylvania grower. Then, in January, they order bunches of cut daffodil stems, which come all the way from Washington state in refrigerated trucks.

Once everything has arrived, they unload the trucks and begin packing orders for delivery to businesses, organizations, and individuals across the county. Most years, it goes smoothly, but occasionally there is an unanticipated problem, such as the time the truck from Washington state got stuck in a snowstorm in North Dakota.

Many local businesses and organizations have employees who take orders for flowers from their co-workers which they then submit to the Flowers of Hope Team. Others support Daffodil Days by purchasing flowers for their employees or making donations to the American Cancer Society. Many of these businesses and organizations have been participating for years and are a big part of the success of Daffodil Days. New businesses receive an e-mail message from the Flowers of Hope team inviting them to participate and join in the fight against cancer.

Faculty staff, and students at local schools as well as Lock Haven University participate in Daffodil Days by selling flowers and building Walls of Hope with bright yellow daffodil cards. It’s an opportunity not only to raise funds, but to help students become involved in and appreciate the value of community service.

Dr. Burrows is impressed by the work done by faculty, staff, and students in support of Daffodil Days over the years, as is Schools Coordinator Joanne Heimer, who said, “Schools are busy places and we try to make participating as easy as possible for schools. They do an outstanding job, and we are very glad to have them participate.”

Linda Hinman, a long-time Daffodil volunteer, coordinates the team’s efforts to set up sales tables across the county where flowers can be purchased during the week of March 18.

According to Mrs. Hinman, several locations have already been confirmed, including the Lock Haven Post Office, McElhattan Post Office, Woolrich Post Office, Lingle’s Market in Renovo, and the Clinton County Court House. She is working with other volunteers to add additional locations that will make it easy to purchase flowers anywhere in the area.

Daffodil Days have grown in Clinton County over the last few years, so the Flowers of Hope team is always looking for new members. Those who have been on the team are quick to point out that, while Daffodil Days can be a lot of work, it’s also a lot of fun and an opportunity to make a difference. They are enthusiastic about welcoming new members.

Individuals as well as businesses and organizations interested in participating in Daffodil Days are encouraged to contact Dr. Burrows at 570-726-6598.