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Petal Power: Leesburg Resident Offers Flowers For Food Pantry Donations

© Leesburg Today - 07/31/2015

The Leesburg woman who's become known for her driveway display of arranged flowers is putting out the call for donations.

For the past two years, Rachel Roberts has cut flowers from her garden, arranged them in vases or mason jars complete with a decorative ribbon, and set them out in front of her 307 Edwards Ferry Road home for anyone who wanted them.

In exchange, she asks that people donate money or non-perishable food items to Loudoun Interfaith Relief, the county's largest food pantry. Passersby will see a moneybox next to the flowers.

Last year, she raised $6,046 for the nonprofit. Now, she's trying to match that before the season ends.

Roberts encourages people who take flowers to donate as much as they can afford. They can also make a tax-deducible donation via check, and Loudoun Interfaith Relief will mail them a receipt, if requested.

Roberts, a longtime volunteer at Loudoun Interfaith, was inspired to come up with a creative way to drum up support for the organization when she noticed it was running low on food to give to families in need.

""Sometimes there's no milk to give out or not enough money to buy fresh food,"" she said. ""That's where I hope to come in.""

She spends much of her winter scouring thrift shops for vases, and her spring is focused on planting several varieties of flowers. During the warmer months, her kitchen is known to look more like a flower shop, with ribbon, vases and dozens of flowers occupying the counters.

""I really love what Loudoun Interfaith does, and I love supporting that,"" she said.

The business community has joined Roberts in her effort to raise money. South Street Under regularly purchases and displays her arranged flowers, and SpeedPro Imaging NoVa donated professional-looking signs to help her promote her donation campaign.

Her flowers can also be purchased for donations at Flow Yoga, in Market Station, and Eyetopia, at 223 Loudoun St. SE in Leesburg.

So far this year, Roberts has raised $1,400. She's confident, with some help from the community, she'll be able to bring in another few thousand dollars for the organization before the year's first frost.

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