- Associated Press - Sunday, March 1, 2015

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Do you ever think about what to do with all the flowers after a wedding, bar mitzvah or bridal shower?

The thought occurred to newly-married West Palm Beach resident Brittany Agro after her wedding in June 2011.

“We had all these beautiful flowers and I couldn’t bear to see them go to waste,” she said. “I saw a niche and need to reuse and recycle the flowers to people and organizations in need.”

After relocating to Florida from her native New York, Agro and her husband Steve Halbrook launched Petals With Purpose, a nonprofit charity that disseminates flowers from large corporate events and banquets to nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities and hospitals.

“We’ve delivered hundreds of arrangements,” Agro said. “We find the need in the community and use flowers as a tool to connect with others. It’s a blessing to touch so many lives.”

For the second year in a row, Petals With Purpose is being recognized by the National Association of Wedding Professionals as its charity of choice.

Elizabeth Hollman, 33, a wedding planner and second vice president of NAWP, helps organize a yearly fundraiser for the organization.

“Each year we raise money toward a local charity and present them with the large check at our January meeting,” she said. “We chose Petals With Purpose because the joy of receiving gorgeous flowers lights up a patient’s day when they are going through difficult times.”

At its annual meeting on Jan. 14, the group presented a check in the amount of $360 to the organization at the Boynton Woman’s Club.

“They’ve supported us from day one,” said Agro, who has partnered with some of the biggest resorts in the area, including The Breakers, the PGA National Resort and Spa, and hospitals and organizations such as Bethesda Hospital East, the Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization and the Boulevard Rehabilitation Center, all in Boynton Beach .

Anne Dichele, director of development and public relations for the Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization, said, “We were most grateful that Petals With Purpose donated flower arrangements to us. We distributed them to various families and individuals with Down syndrome who were delighted to be the recipients of such beautiful flowers.”

“Their generosity brightened up quite a few lives,” Dichele said.

The flowers also brightened up the lives of patients at the Boulevard Rehabilitation Center in Boynton Beach , according to Angel Bartoszewicz, director of admissions.

“Before the holidays we received very expensive, gorgeous orchids,” she said. “We had at least six different arrangements; one in the main entrance, one in the rehabilitation wing and a number with the long-term care residents.”

“Petals With Purpose has been very generous with us,” Bartoszewicz said. “Our residents, many who have been through quite a lot, enjoy the flowers. It’s aesthetically pleasing to have fresh flowers in the building.”

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Information from: Sun Sentinel , http://www.sun-sentinel.com/

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