If you’ve been around UPC for awhile, you may notice that on one Sunday in early March, the church is transformed into Daffodil Central. Rock students station themselves at entrances and exits to take donations for Side-by-Side, a ministry to come alongside families who have a seriously ill child, in exchange for bunches of soon-to-open daffodil buds. It comes at the perfect time—by March Seattleites would give a lot for a break from the grey—resulting in many daffodil sales, and making Daffodil Day one of Side-by-Side’s biggest fundraisers.
The woman “behind the daffodils,” is longtime UPC member, Kelly Pook. This is her story:
One Sunday in church, the Holy Spirit hit me. I don’t remember anything special about the service, except for one thing—the witness. The Corry family, who owns a dry-cleaning business, shared about donating the cleaning of all the coats the church had collected for the homeless, so the recipients would have a clean coat for the winter. God immediately brought to my mind my mother’s frequently used phrase: “Bloom where you’re planted.”
Back in the 1930s, my parents started a bulb business in Skagit Valley, where the soil is ideal for bulb-growing. When you visit the valley in April and May to see the tulips, that’s just a bonus for the farmers—they’re in it for the bulbs. For years, my parents sent daffodils from their farm to my two sons every week. The kids then sold them to our friends and neighbors to save for college. When they were grown and out of the house, their customers kept coming back, so I kept selling flowers, year after year.
When I heard the Corrys’ story, I couldn’t help but think I needed to use my access to all these flowers. I didn’t do anything about it right away, but I kept thinking about it and I knew I had to do something. Spring was just around the corner and the flowers were coming, but I just kept thinking, “What should I do? What should I do?” I reached out to one of my flower customers, Kimberly Wayne, about what the Lord had laid on my heart. She immediately told me about a new ministry at UPC called Side-by-Side that was getting started by a group of people including Adam Hestad and Isaac Hasselblad. She and her husband Don were involved in this brand-new ministry, and said they desperately needed a fundraiser to raise support for the camp they hosted for families with children who had life-threatening illnesses.
The Corrys told a simple story of using their resources to benefit a group of people in need, and they have no idea what they inspired me to do that day.
I’m a nurse by training, and I had worked at Seattle Children’s Hospital in the past, and right away I knew this ministry was a great fit for me. The next step was meeting with Earl Palmer who was very receptive to thinking outside-the-box. Also at that time, the Rock staff was looking for a way to get junior high kids involved in giving back. So with these partnerships in place, and the Rock willing to carry it out, the following spring, we launched the inaugural Daffodil Sunday.
Not knowing how popular this event would be, I ordered 5,000 daffodils that first year. They were gone before the end of the morning. I guess I didn’t have enough faith to believe that God was really going to use this in such a great way. Each year since, I’ve increased the number of flowers I’ve ordered, and for the last two years, we’ve ordered 20,000 flowers for Daffodil Day.
It is so amazing to me what God can do when we listen and act on the prompting he’s given us. And I know I’ve probably missed these prompts in the past, but this was something I just felt I had to do. The beautiful thing is that the Lord has multiplied these donations so many times over. It’s kind of like the feeding of the 5,000—I could never have sponsored as many families to go to camp by myself as this fundraiser has.
I haven’t told this story to many people before. It’s just one way that I’ve been able to contribute to a ministry that speaks to my heart. But when I was asked to share this story with the church, I realized that maybe someone would be inspired to serve in a way they hadn’t considered before. The Corrys told a simple story of using their resources to benefit a group of people in need, and they have no idea what they inspired me to do that day.
You are unique. You have gifts, connections, and resources that no one else has. How is God calling you to use them?