CARPINTERIA, Calif. - Thousands of colorful orchids, set for shipments to stores worldwide, are being redirected to medical workers, after a slowdown during the coronavirus crisis.
Westerlay Orchids in Carpinteria says it has already sent thousands to doctors, nurses, and medical staff in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.
Thursday a shipment arrives in the Los Angeles area at USC -Keck Hospital, the Los Angeles County-USC Hospital, Glendale Memorial , Glendale Adventist and Verdugo Hills hospitals.
Owner and President Toine Overgaag said "we have all these orchids, got to get them out. There's no place to go with these because the stores can't take them."
In the last two weeks, a new plan came up. Overgaag said he and the staff have a plan "to donate 100,000 orchids to front line workers in hospitals, nurses, doctors and other staff ."
The massive greenhouse full of workers is wrapping, boxing, labeling and "shipping 12,000 orchids down to major hospitals in Los Angeles and last week between Santa Barbara and Ventura County we distributed 6000 to nurses and doctors."
Community partners can now also help with this new sign of gratitude for medical heroes.
"We are looking for some sponsorship to help us with that so that we can continue to support our employees and keep the lights on," he said.
Not only do they have this program that sends these orchids to front line medical workers but you can get involved as well by sending your own box. "It will be loaded with orchids and can go with no delivery charge in California to someone you love, or to a senior citizen home."
The new program for customers that was just launched is called "Box of Orchids." For about $80- $100. a box of orchids can be sent.
Westerlay has been in the orchid business for 42 years, and regularly has been in stores such as Trader Joe's, Ralphs. Albertsons, and Vons.
In a time of stress, pictures sent back to Westerlay of their orchids both donated and purchased brightening up lives worldwide.
"We donated to Reality church here in Carpinteria and a family took a bunch of orchids, and they had the kids and their wagon and they pulled it around town. They left orchids at all their neighbors doorsteps so that was really fun," said Overgaag.
For more information on the consumer boxes of orchids or to donate to the medical gift drive go to : Westerlay Orchids
The Box of Orchids efforts can be found at: BoxofOrchids