Local ministry participates in ‘Random Acts of Hope,’ giving away 10,000 flowers

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EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – A local ministry is partnering with an East Peoria church to continue the mission of spreading hope throughout the community.

In 2018, Catherine Worden, an office manager at RockChurch, found a way to make kindness flourish by using carnations.

“Flowers can change the atmosphere of someone’s room and impact someone’s day,” Worden said.

She started ‘Random Acts of Hope,’ a ministry aiming to share ‘the hope of God through flowers.”

“[I was] just sharing flowers with friends and family and then started doing that with strangers and that’s how Random Acts of Hope came to be,” Worden said.

Worden said the first year they gave out 5,000 flowers and this year they decided to upgrade to 10,000. Church members and volunteers took buckets of carnations, Saturday morning, traveled to different locations in the tri-county area, and handed them out to anyone who needed them.

Jessie Hougas has been a member of RockChurch for seven years. She said flowers are the perfect way to brighten someone’s day.

“When you deliver a flower it just makes somebody smile,” Hougas said. “No matter what and it makes you happy and it makes them happy.”

Genia Workheiser was given a flower while out shopping. She said the kind gesture brought her much needed joy.

“I was surprised,” Workheiser said. “It seems like in the world you find a lot of crabby people and not as many kind people, so it was wonderful to have a kind moment instead of a crabby moment.”

Hougas said the act is just as rewarding for the person giving the flower as it is for the person receiving it.

“It brings hope to you and to others because you know you’ve made an impact on somebody’s life that day,” Hougas said.

Worden said at the end of the day, she wants people to feel recognized.

“We might not be able to fix every problem or fix the pandemic right now but we just let people know that we see you and that we’re for you,” Worden aid.

She said she’d like to increase the number of flowers to 15,000 next year as well as partner with other churches to spread the Random Acts of Hope to different cities and states.

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