As communities all over the country mourn the lives lost in Parkland Florida, some folks in Baldwin County are turning that loss into love.
Local children's counselor, Rochelle Murrell says she's received dozens of calls over the past couple of days, about kids being scared to go to school because of the shooting in Florida. She decided to flip the script, and used the opportunity to show people, and kids, that love always overcomes hate.
Her idea: random acts of kindness. And what better way to spread the message of love…than with flowers. Dozens of them were all spontaneously donated by the Publix in Spanish Fort. Murrell says she got the idea not long after the Parkland shooting, and started rallying people together to give out flowers. After hearing that many students in our community were having a hard time coping with the Parkland shooting, it fueled her passion to spread the love even more.
"Anytime something like this happens, it just kind of drives a spirit of fear, people get afraid, people start feeling very anxious, and this is just an opportunity for us to reintroduce to the community, that there is kindness, that we don't have to be afraid."
So a group of people, including some kids, loaded up their cars and went out across Baldwin County Friday night, spreading joy, with a fresh batch of flowers. They surprised complete strangers, in nursing homes, shopping centers, and hospitals, to name a few.
They were met with lots of smiles…and some tears. It was all to show people; even with all the negativity in the world, they are loved and important.
"I think it went well. I'm surprised at the number of people that thought there were strings attached, like they could not just receive a gift, which says a lot about where we are as a culture...Love does conquer any fear. And if we can get that message to our kids instead of driving the fear, then we are winning half the battle," said Murrell afterward. She brought along her two daughters and young son.
As a children's counselor, Murrell says the most important thing parents can do is talk to their kids about difficult topics, like what happened this week in Parkland. She says give them a safe place to work out what they're feeling, and they will mostly likely open up.