LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston resident Christy Sanborn and her daughter Leena are on a mission to brighten up the lives others during this challenging time by creating and delivering anonymous flower arrangements at no cost to the sender.
Since early August, the mother-daughter duo has delivered approximately 70 floral arrangements thanks to local sponsors like Philly Pretzel Factory and Pink Jewels as well as residents who have donated flowers, vases, ribbons, funds and more to assist in their efforts.
Sanborn said the reactions have been “overwhelming,” adding that her first social media post about the endeavor had more than 1,000 responses and prompted many orders from residents of Livingston and neighboring communities.
“We have seen smiles, tears, hugs, gifts and just plain love,” said Sanborn, who devotes a great deal of time spreading happiness in her personal life as well as her professional life as inspirational guidance coach. “I just love helping people any way that I can.”
Sanborn explained that she has been sending anonymous floral arrangements for many years—sometimes to old friends, and other times to “random people like the clerk at the supermarket or the woman working at the gas station.”
“Anyone who I thought could use a little love and light,” she said, adding that her daughter immediately took to the idea this summer and thought it would be something they could do together to give back to the community.
Deliveries thus far have included orders made between spouses, friends and coworkers as well as mothers to their children and children to their elderly grandparents.
After purchasing the flowers from a Livingston-based florist, Leena designs the arrangements—occasionally with the assistance of her boyfriend.
Prior to surprising people with mystery flower arrangements, Sanborn and her daughter have also been known to write anonymous inspirational notes to leave on random windshields throughout town and assemble gift bags for New York City’s homeless population.
For a few years, Sanborn set up a blow-up couch on the sidewalks of Manhattan offering “free advice” to passerby. Today, Sanborn displays a “free advice” bumper sticker on her vehicle accompanied by her phone number.
As an inspirational guidance coach for her own business, Sanborn aims to “help people rediscover their true purpose and give them tools to live a happier, healthier life.”
Noting that she had a life-altering realization when she turned 41, Sanborn said that “everything about life and love and contribution" suddenly became very clear to her.
“I believe that we all spend a lot of time doing for ourselves when we are younger—not knowing that true happiness comes from giving, not receiving," she said. “Giving to others doesn’t have to cost anything. You can offer someone a smile, or a hello, or just pray for them. When you practice giving to others in this way, your own life magically transforms.”
Sanborn recalled that despite not having a great deal of money, her father was always a very generous tipper. She specifically reflected on a moment in the 1990s when her father presented $50 to a homeless man, who she remembers jumping up and down and laughing at the stranger’s generosity.
“My dad taught me if someone asks you for something and you can help, by all means, help,” she said. “If you are not feeling happy these days, the fastest way to feel better is to do something nice for someone else. One step further: make it anonymous.”
Community members are invited to assist in Sanborn’s endeavor by donating flowers, vases, ribbons or gift cards to local florists or by making a monetary contribution.
To donate or to place an order, contact Sanborn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 856-397-7879.
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