Mom Spreads Love to 400 Widows on Valentine's Day
Valentine’s Day is a day to spend with the one you love, but for many widows, they can only hold onto the memory of their spouse.
James 1:27 tells us the importance of taking care of widows and “to visit them in their affliction.” Stay-at-home mom, Ashley Manning has done just that, through her flower delivery service called, “Pretty Things by A.E Manning,” where her and a team of volunteers will take part in delivering flowers and gift bags to 400 widows this year.
For years, Manning made bouquets for teachers and family friends who needed a pick-me-up, but she wanted to expand. “When I started Pretty Things by A.E. Manning, I started thinking about Valentine’s Day. I thought, I have a platform now to maybe involve more people” Manning told “Good Morning America.”
This all started when Manning posted on her instagram sharing her idea and according to GMA, “within hours…she had received hundreds of dollars in donations and the names of dozens of women who had been nominated by others.”
According to GMA, this past Valentine’s Day, “121 women and two men opened their doors to surprise floral arrangements and a gift bag with a note that included the lyrics, “There’s never been a moment you were forgotten,” from the song “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle.”
The gift bag included “wine, gifts, and gift cards from local businesses who made their donations to the cause.”
One of the recipients, Jordan Meggs just lost her 29-year-old husband Daniel on Feb. 21, 2020, while she was pregnant with their first child. This is her first Valentine’s Day that she would be celebrating without him, and Meggs says how she was “shocked and so surprised over such a sweet thing”, speaking of Manning’s gift to her.
“Before, I never thought of what widows are doing on Valentine’s Day, but it’s just in Ashley to think of others all the time. It’s just who she is,” Meggs said.
Just this year alone, Manning has raised over $22,000 for her project which she calls the, “Valentine’s Day Widow Project,” and plans on making it a nonprofit organization, so that she can reach more women. She says that she has received “countless messages of thanks from the women who received flowers, and she has been overjoyed to see family and friends start similar efforts on whatever scale they could, like her sister who gave Valentine’s Day flowers to widows at her gym.”
Manning shares that the most important thing that she has learned through this whole outreach is, “when you feel that tug on your heart for whatever it is, because this world is full of things that are sad and hard and there are people that are aching every day, when you feel that nudge, actually listen to it,” Manning said.
“Whether it’s widows or widowers or if it’s military spouses, or whatever it is that tugs at your heart, you just listen to it and act on it, and the reward is far greater. The joy that giving gives your heart is just incredible,” she said.
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