Every August as summer is coming to an end and thoughts turn to education and going back to school, The Salvation Army brings the power of flowers to the cause through its annual Flower Power Gala and Silent Auction fundraiser, benefitting families and children, with an emphasis on education. Working with a local floral designer, guests are treated to a floral show with a DIY component. Not only are they “Doing the Most Good” for the community by attending the event - they learn how to put together a beautiful bouquet at home as well. Past designers have included Orna Maymon with Ornamento, John James with John James Designs and Jun Pinon, The Floral Architect.
The idea for the event was planted back in 2004, when The Salvation Army was wanting to do something creative to help children from struggling families prepare for the new school year. It has since evolved to support the back-to-school initiatives and after-school programs at Salvation Army community centers across San Francisco.
The generous support of the Flower Power attendees allows The Salvation Army to buy back to school supplies for the hundreds of children who are part of The Salvation Army’s programs as well as other supplies for the after-school programming provided by the organization. During each weekday afternoon, these programs offer a variety of physical and educational activities in a safe place. San Francisco’s youth receive daily homework tutoring, nutritious snacks and dinner, recreation, and enrichment activities. Those activities can include art, literacy programs, science, and computer work. Children also have access to a gym, dance studio, private outdoor space, and a game room.
But it’s not just the flowers or helping the families and children that keep people coming back to the event. It’s also the silent auction, which has grown over the years. A dedicated and hard-working committee of community volunteers cajoles, asks and encourages local business and friends into donating high quality items like a night at the famed Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, a weekend in Healdsburg or dinner at Spruce in Laurel Heights. Other donated items have included jewelry, wine and a consultation with an interior designer.
The event has been held at some of the best hotels in San Francisco, including the Omni San Francisco, Sir Francis Drake Hotel and the Fairmont San Francisco. The event is so popular that during the pandemic, instead of cancelling the fundraiser, The Salvation Army streamed the event online, to a packed audience.
Plans are already being made for next year’s event. For more information on Flower Power and how you can get involved, log onto salvationarmy.sanfrancisco.org.
Photography by: Salvation Army