Simple Gifts: An Interview with RAF Donor Ruth Onesi

For Ruth Onesi, it would be a more than eight-hour drive from her home in Niagara Falls, NY, to our nearest branch in Indianapolis, IN. And, despite that her donations deliver hope and encouragement to people she will never meet in cities she may never visit, RAF can count on Onesi’s support like clockwork. She is just one of the many donors living in locations where we don’t have branches inspired by the Random Acts of Flowers mission.

ruth1How did she learn about RAF? Call it serendipity, if you will; but Ruth’s membership to the monthly Dollar Shave Club brought the RAF mission directly to her mailbox. The April 2015 Club Handbook featured a photo of RAF Founder and CEO Larsen Jay handing flowers to someone in a hospital bed and included some information about RAF. Ruth even admits, “I don’t know why I read it that month. I usually just recycle it.” So, we wanted to know what made Ruth decide donate from a distance in the first place, and what keeps her coming back to the RAF mission:

What attracted you to the RAF cause?  

Everyone wants to know they matter. Some people are reminded of it more often than others, and unfortunately some people won’t ever know. There is always someone who cares for you without your knowledge; and, with RAF, it’s a guarantee that more and more people will know they matter and that someone cares for them when they need it the most.

Do you have a personal story that connects you to the RAF mission? 

I am super grateful that I actually have zero personal experience being in a hospital. I just thought it was so cool. I’ve visited people in the hospital before and you see someone who’s in the waiting room or comes out and no one’s waiting for them. It’s awful.

One thing that does connect me is that I’m at that age where everyone is getting married, and they had a bunch of flowers at their weddings and then you’d just see them getting thrown away at the end of the night. It’s such a waste! So the fact that RAF recycles flowers gives hope to other peopl – something that would have been garbage – I think that’s really amazing.

Since you are a distance from an RAF branch, what motivates you to stay involved?  

RAF is my favorite charity, hands down. I donate each week to some place, and I don’t see where the money goes for any of them. I go online and see the pictures RAF posts of people receiving flowers and that’s enough for me. I am always excited to continue donating to such an amazing cause that gives away happiness to everyone involved. I love knowing that what I donate can still affect multiple people in such a positive way.

ruth2In your opinion, what is the value of RAF’s mission?  

The mission of recycling flowers to give hope and smiles to unsuspecting sick, lonely, and sometimes even ‘forgotten’ people is pretty much the greatest idea I had ever heard. I always root for the underdog.

What inspires you to continue supporting? 

The best gifts are the simple ones, not just on special occasions or every once in a while. Random Acts of Flowers gives the gift of encouragement and boosts emotional health all year round!

What do you hope RAF will achieve moving forward? 

My hope is that RAF will continue to grow and grow, and one day every city would have a branch. Most importantly, Niagara Falls, NY, of course!

What would you say to other potential supporters who don’t have an RAF branch in their backyard?  

I challenge anyone who wants to see a small piece of the effect that this kind of charity has on people to try it for themselves. Go to a store, buy a bouquet, and hand it to anyone you want. See what happens. See how it changes their day. The happiness on their face, the way you feel knowing you may have just made their day.  Maybe you just changed their whole outlook, or maybe even yours! And, that’s someone just walking down the street. That’s just a fraction of what RAF does everyday. The people who RAF gives flowers to are in the hospital, they’re lonely, so it means all the more to see that someone cares about them.

ruth3Simple and unexpected acts of kindness are easy to give but the echoes are truly endless!

What’s your favorite flower and why?  

I do not have a favorite flower actually! But I do know that orange ones of any kind are usually the prettiest in my opinion.

Do you have any additional thoughts you want to share?  

I just want to send a big thank you to Larsen and all the folks at Random Acts of flowers for providing something so amazing in a world full of chaos.


* Random Acts of Flowers ever-expanding service area currently includes Knoxville (TN), Tampa Bay (FL), Chicago (IL), Indianapolis (IN), and Silicon Valley (CA), but we receive support from donors in 34 of the 50 states. We hope you’ll join them by donating today!