ALEXANDRIA, VA – As the coronavirus pandemic continues to change everyday life, people are stepping up in different ways to make sure those in quarantine don’t feel alone. Mary Ann Hoffman, for example, is using pink flamingos to spread joy one yard at a time.
What’s her secret? Flamingos!
“I was cleaning out my shed and had all these flamingos that I had bought as a gag over the years for birthdays and such. I was asking myself what’s a good way to be able to use these? What can we do to brighten people’s days and make them laugh?,” Hoffman recalls.
That’s when she made the decision to put out the word on the Beverley Hills neighborhood listserv. This caught the eye of Wayne Hulehan, who has run the popular listserv for over 13 years.
Hulehan was touched by the service so much that he had it done for his son, “It’s a great thing to do and brings a smile to a lot of people’s faces. Everyone loved the idea and it also supports two wonderful charities.”
The post is simple but catches your eye:
“Looking for a little levity? Wanting to help the hungry in this area?
I have a flock of flamingos waiting to be put on your neighbor’s lawn as a joke. I am happy to put the flock up and take it down upon request. In return, I am asking that you make a donation to one of the following food pantries.”
The post spread as people emailed her to request pink flamingos for family and friends in need of a boost during this uncertain time.
Mary Ann isn’t looking for compensation, just a donation to either Carpenters Shelter or Christ House Food Pantry. She says, “I don’t set an amount, I let them take care of it themselves and what they feel.”
The Carpenter’s Shelter (www.carpentersshelter.org) supports the homeless in achieving sustainable independence through shelter, guidance, education and advocacy. It assists more than 650 homeless and formerly homeless children and adults each year.
The Christ House Food Pantry (www.ccda.net/give-help/donate-food/donate-to-alexandria-food-pantry) in Alexandria provides perishable and non-perishable foods to homeless and low-income households in Alexandria and the surrounding areas.
The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. “People have really liked it. I was taking one day the other day and someone walked by and said, “Why are you taking it do so early? It’s really fun and I’ve enjoyed walking past it.”
She’s set up the flamingos for over a dozen houses so far and has a waiting list that will keep her busy over the coming week.
In response to the growing popularity of Hoffman’s Flamingo Project, Hulelan has ordered a second set of flamingos. “My hope is to expand it to Del Ray or even North Arlington. That would be great!” Hoffman says.
Want to spread a smile to a friend or neighbor? Email Mary Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org to set it up.