Who says Christmas is the only time for giving?
For Carol Brown, Valentine's Day is the perfect time to give back to those who are giving her the gift of a home.
"What's good about it for me is that I'm able to connect with people who are helping people like myself to become homeowners," the single mother of two children said Tuesday.
Brown, a Lawrence Memorial Hospital employee, was out delivering flowers with other volunteers as part of a Habitat for Humanity Women Build Valentine's Day Fundraiser. For several years, University Floral has partnered with the nonprofit and Women Build, a national program, led locally by women in Lawrence, to help build Habitat homes.
"To have Carol with us is a tremendous gift," said volunteer Jay Haugh. "To be able to provide this for somebody who otherwise wouldn't have it, I don't think there's a word to describe the feeling."
Brown's home is one of 12 that Lawrence Habitat for Humanity hopes to construct next year.
"2009 will be Lawrence Habitat's 20th anniversary in Lawrence," said Grace Hoyt, director of development. "We have the goal of doing 12 homes during those 12 months to celebrate, and hers will be the third one we do," she said.
Since Habitat's inception in 1989, 68 homes have been completed in Lawrence, housing nearly 163 adults and children with the help of more than 3,000 volunteers.
University Floral donates $4.50 of every Valentine's floral purchase toward the cost of a new home. After loading a van with bouquets, Brown and Haugh set out.
"Well, thank you," said LoRee Beeler, who greeted Brown with a smile as she received her floral arrangement. Brown was excited with every door she knocked on and said she considers delivering flowers a privilege.
However, she said it won't compare to the feeling she will have in about 14 months.
"To walk into that house and have it become mine is the goal," she said, "and that's when I feel like I'll have the most release of excitement that is kind of building up inside of me."