By Gord Bowes, News staff
The first thing Jennifer Fair did after getting her free dozen roses was start handing them out to strangers on the street.
“Whoever I meet, I’m spreading the joy,” said Fair.
It summed up the spirit of Good Neighbour Day, which was marked for the 14th time on Wednesday by Jean’s Flower Shop.
The Upper Wellington Street business gave away 1,000 dozen roses. The idea was for people who picked up a free bouquet to keep one flower for themselves and give the rest away.
Patrons were also asked to bring in a food bank donation. It usually amounts to several hundred pounds each year for Neighbour to Neighbour Centre, said Debbie Thomson.
Thomson, granddaughter of original owner Jean, and her husband, Derek, purchased the family business last yea. She said there is no plan to halt the annual giveaway.
“People love it,” said Thomson, who noted the cost was offset by repeat business. “They come back. Some people say they do all their shopping here because of it.”
The first year of Good Neighbour Day, the shop gave away 500 dozen roses. The amount has grown over the years; this year, it was 1,000 dozen. The Thomsons said the supply usually lasts until close to noon.
The doors opened at 7 a.m. and there was a lineup of about 35 people waiting for their free roses.
“It was still dark when I arrived (at 6:15 a.m.) and there were already people here,” said Derek Thomson.
Customer Maria Mota said she has showed up for the giveaway the past couple of years. This year, she was bringing the roses to her father’s gravesite.
“It’s a good idea,” she said of Good Neighbour Day. “It makes people so happy when they pick up their flowers.”