HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WBRC) - A lot of people say they feel helpless when they see reports of missing people, but they’re unable to participate in a physical search. However, two local florists are giving people an avenue to help. It’s a way for Aniah Blanchard’s story to be seen around the state, and in her hometown of Homewood. While law enforcement investigators are searching for the 19 year old, people are volunteering to make bows at Norton’s Florist and Homewood Flowers.
Both businesses are asking volunteers to come make bows. People can then take those bows and tie them up around the community. Volunteers need no experience. The florists show you how to make the loops and tie them with wire. They say the bows don’t have to be perfect because it’s just about what’s in your heart.
When you walk inside Homewood Flowers, inside Brookwood Village, it was almost like an old school quilting bee. The group of women volunteering were buzzing with conversation and busy hands. The ladies were looping and tying the baby blue ribbon, which is Blanchard's favorite color. Women were talking about how it was a shame, college students can't just go out, without worrying about safety. Other conversations about their family also connected the volunteers, who were at one time, perfect strangers.
It's a chance to be a part of the community, and be a part of something bigger, according to florist Bradley Gilbert. "Sitting around, you can feel helpless. So, even if it's just coming in here and tying a couple of loops on a bow and helping to distribute them out to the neighborhood, you feel like you're doing something to help that family."
Gilbert said this community effort started when a local realtor ask for a few bows. It grew and is still growing. Gilbert claims he bought every bolt of baby blue ribbon in the state of Alabama. We're told bows made in Homewood are getting transported to Auburn, Montgomery, and even Mobile.
Anyone who wants to make bows to continue the conversation on the search for Aniah Blanchard, can just show up whenever they’d like. Homewood Flowers owners say the business is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. However, if they need to stay later, it’s no problem.