Shawn Chamberlain clearly recalls the first seeds of thought for her now blossoming nonprofit. Three years ago, when the owner of Coeur d'Alene's Flower Bar Co. was volunteering in the gardens of the Hospice House of North Idaho, Chamberlain noticed a patient watching her work, a terminally ill mother whose family's life was about to change.
"I wanted to do something, so I cut flowers and gave them to the nurse to give them to her," Chamberlain recalls.
Since then she's given out hundreds of bouquets and founded Full Bloom, a nonprofit that recycles cut flowers from weddings and other special events, bringing joy to patients in area hospitals and hospice care. Chamberlain says not a single bride she's worked with at her for-profit floral studio has declined to donate their arrangements to Full Bloom after the event has ended.
"I am a florist, so I see the everyday celebrations that people buy flowers for," Chamberlain explains. "But at the same time, I really feel like those that are in end-of-life care, that is a really vulnerable time for them, and if you add on top of that you're far from family and you're alone — that thought of them being alone really keeps my fuel running."
Full Bloom hosts its annual fundraiser in August, a farm-to-table dinner served outdoors, on a street in Coeur d'Alene's Riverstone development. Each course for the family-style meal is prepared by a local chef, and all guests are asked to come dressed in white attire.
The highlight of the event is when Chamberlain asks each guest to create their own unique flower arrangement using donated flowers, to be distributed to patients across the region the following day.
Dinner En Blanc • Fri, Aug. 19, at 6:30 pm • $100/person • Outdoor event on Beebe Blvd. in Coeur d'Alene • thefullbloom.org • 208-665-3756