Surrogate gardeners in Joplin area asked to return flower bulbs for donation and planting in Oklahoma



Last year, more than 150 Joplin-area residents agreed to serve as surrogate gardeners and “foster plant” 100,000 flower bulbs that would be eventually dug up and re-planted in the communities in central Oklahoma hit by tornadoes during early 2013.

Now is the time for the foster plants and bulbs to go to their new homes in Oklahoma.

Residents of Joplin and nearby communities are asked to dig up and return flower bulbs that they received last year for donation to the communities of central Oklahoma. The flower bulbs can be dropped off at the Joplin Parks Department at 3010 West First Street (just west of Schifferdecker) from 8 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1 5 p.m. on April 28 through May 1. The donated flower bulbs will be picked up on Friday, May 2 and taken to Oklahoma City.

In addition, people from throughout the region that would like to join in these efforts to help Oklahoma are also encouraged to drop off flower bulbs at the Joplin Parks Department. All types of flower bulbs – spring-blooming and summer-blooming flower bulbs – are welcomed.

America Responds With Love, a national non-profit organization, delivered more than 100,000 flower bulbs to Joplin in June of 2013. Area residents were asked to pick up flower bulbs at that time, plant the flower bulbs on their properties, and “foster” the flower bulbs until this spring.

For this project, America Responds With Love delivered approximately 26 pallets of flower bulbs to Joplin Parks and Recreation in June of 2013. While several pallets of flower bulbs were sent to Moore and Shawnee in 2013, most of the areas of Oklahoma impacted by the storms could not accept this number of bulbs at that time. To help Oklahoma in its future recovery, the City of Joplin was asked to encourage our area residents to pick up bulbs from the Parks office, plant them in their yards or business properties, and then be prepared to dig them up in spring 2014 when we will join together in donating these bulbs to Oklahoma to help them beautify their recovering communities.

“Joplin received so much support with volunteers and donations following the disaster,” said Interim City Manager Sam Anselm. “This was one way our residents could help pay it forward, plus we benefited from the beautiful flowers that bloomed here this past summer.”

“This was a very large project and we really appreciated the area residents that got involved in this donation effort,” said Chris Cotten, Parks Director. “We need those people to now come back with the flower bulbs so we can help the people of Oklahoma.”

Following the 2011 tornado, the cities of Joplin and Duquesne received a large donation of bulbs from America Responds with Love and offered these to area residents. The flower bulbs were planted in public areas – like parks and schools – as well as in publicly-viewable areas – like front yards along streets in Joplin.

“By planting these flower bulbs, we are focused on the future and how the communities will be building back during the upcoming months,” said Richard McDonough, President and Chief Executive Officer of America Responds With Love, Inc. “The citizens of Joplin and the area have shown their support for Oklahoma’s recovery by giving these bulbs a chance to bloom in Joplin. We encourage the area residents that planted these flower bulbs last year to dig them up and bring them back to the Joplin Parks Department so that we can offer them to Oklahoma citizens to plant in their communities and brighten their future with beautiful flowers. It truly is a great symbol of hope moving from one community to another.”

America Responds With Love, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides products and services to people truly in need throughout the United States. To learn more about America Responds With Love, go to

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