To some this small yellow plant is nothing but a simple flower, but to the Canadian Cancer Society this first flower of spring is a symbol of hope.
Volunteers will be conducting the annual daffodil sale for the Canadian Cancer Society Thursday, March 31, and are accepting preorders until Monday, March 28.
The daffodil sales are not something new to Nova Scotia. In fact, they began in 1956.
The flowers come all the way from Scotland and are brought to Halifax, where they are stored at Sobeys.
Janet Godfrey, member of the Queens unit of the Canadian Cancer Society and chairperson of daffodil sales, says she and the other volunteers are quite busy before the sale. Volunteers are out all over the county, figuring out how many flowers each part of the community will need.
“There's someone in Caledonia, someone in Greenfield, someone in Port Mouton, Milton, Brooklyn, all those places. They have people that call them, and by the 28th of March they call me and tell me what they want,” says Godfrey. “Then on the 30th those all get shipped to all those communities by volunteer people who drive them there and look after them.”
Flowers will be available for purchase at Sobeys and the Superstore from 12 p.m-4 p.m, and the Liverpool post office from 9 a.m-1p.m. Flowers will also be available at Pharmachoice until they run out.
In addition to being sold in public buildings, daffodils are being sold internally at places such as Bowater, OLS, the Region, South Queens Junior High and Dr. John C Wickwire Academy.
Godfrey says she and the other volunteers have sold about 960 bunches in Queens County for the past two or three years, which brings in about $5,900.
“That's just from Queens County. In Nova Scotia they raise around $350,000,” says Godfrey. “People have been buying them faithfully. People just wait for spring, and to them that's the sign of spring. I've been sitting at Sobeys and people will come and say, 'Oh daffodils! I feel like spring!"
According to the information sheets she was given, Godfrey says three bunches of daffodils will pay for three meals for someone staying The Lodge That Gives. The Lodge is a facility in Halifax that provides accommodation to those who are receiving cancer treatments, but live more than 50 kilometers away from the city.
“It makes a difference to the people who need the help, and it makes your day when you're looking at these bright flowers.” - Janet Godfrey, chairperson of daffodil sales
“They get to stay there for free when they're taking cancer treatments,” says Godfrey. “So we usually put it out there that buying three bunches will pay for three meals.”
Godfrey says she thinks knowing small facts like this gives the buyer the feeling they are contributing to a good cause, which is important. In any of the advertisements for the sale, people will tell the buyer purchasing daffodils makes a difference. This is something Godfrey says is true.
“It makes a difference to the people who need the help, and it makes your day when you're looking at these bright flowers,” she says. “When you get them they're in these little buds, and they look like they will never come out. In about two days they are the most beautiful yellow, and it makes you feel good just to look at them.”
The daffodils will sell for $7 a bunch. Although the price may have gone up over the years, Godfrey says when you think about it, it is helping someone or some place in a great way.
“The cancer society pays less than a dollar for a bunch, so they get about six dollars for profit for every one of the bunches,” says Godfrey.
The only problem Godfrey says she and her volunteers run into is everyone has the tendency to use debit more often than cash. More often than not, she says people will end up giving what loose change they have in their pocket as a small donation, rather than taking the daffodils.
“Most of us are debit carrying people,” says Godfrey. “That's the way it is these days, times change.”
Despite the possibility of one small problem, Godfrey says the experience as a whole is a good one. Having been involved with organizations where volunteers can be somewhat hesitant to contribute, she says it brings her relief that her volunteers are fantastic.
“You just call them and ask if they can sell daffodils at such and such a time, and there's no hesitation whatsoever,” she says. It's really nice to deal with people who are so positive. But the way I see it, you cannot be anything but positive when you're dealing with daffodils.”