There is no question that the coronavirus pandemic has brought dark times for many around the globe, including both emotional and financial distress.  

In Amherst, one young lady has found a way to brighten her corner of the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. Quynh Ly started folding paper flowers to pass time during quarantine last spring. Those flowers were so popular, Ly began selling the flowers to raise money for local non-profits. So far, Quynh’s Funky Flowers have raised over $2,000 to support the Amherst Survival Center and Amherst Committee for a Better Chance. 

Producer Dave Fraser met up with Quynh and her father, Minh, to share this story.  

Read the full transcript

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: There is no question that the coronavirus pandemic has brought with it dark times for many, and emotional and financial distress across the globe. But one young lady from Amherst has found a way during COVID-19 to brighten her corner of the world, and she does so with flowers. Producer Dave Fraser shares her story.

Quynh Ly, Quynh’s Funky Flowers: I think it is very important, for people who can, to give and donate to people who need things.

Dave Fraser, Connecting Point: Last year, while homebound by the pandemic, eleven-year-old Quynh Ly of Amherst began making paper flowers. It was one of the many coping mechanisms that she and her family did to help pass the time during the days of isolation.

Minh Ly, Quyhn’s father: We all cope in different ways, right? I did jigsaw puzzles — because this was early days, right? We were trying to occupy time, and having busy hands sometimes helps with that. And when I ran out of jigsaw puzzles, she started teaching me how to make these flowers. And I took to it immediately and just obsessively started making them.

Quynh Ly: Old piano music that we don’t use anymore…and a brown paper bag.

Dave Fraser: Using paper that would normally have found its way into the recycle bin, Quynh and her dad started making flowers for family and friends. Soon, they found they had more flowers than they knew what to do with. So many, in fact, that they decided to start selling them and donate the money to charity.

Minh Ly: We were able to talk about “what can we do that’s productive with these?” because what are we going to do with hundreds of flowers, right? So, we knew that when we gave them to people, we had given them to people in the past, they love them. So, we used the time to really talk about how to support some local causes. And that’s what we came up with.

Quynh Ly: We picked A Better Chance Amherst and the Amherst Survival Center because they’re local and these are two big causes that have happened. Which is like racism and hunger. And so, they just support those causes and we do, too. So, we’re like, let’s donate all the money from the flowers we sell to those two charities.

Dave Fraser: They started a website called Quynh’s Funky Flowers and managed to make over a thousand flowers. That’s 5000 petals folded, according to Quynh’s dad. In the end, the two raised over two thousand dollars for the charities they were supporting.

Minh Ly, Quyhn’s father: As Quynh’s unpaid intern, right?  We’re trying to figure this all out. We had to learn website development. So, how to create a website that people could navigate, how to develop a form.

And again, because of social distancing, people are like, “can I just Venmo you?” So, I learned how to do electronic transfers, which is good.

Dave Fraser: With the current news cycle, it can be difficult to stay positive, but there are still many good things happening amidst the chaos. So thank you, Quynh Ly, for showing us that from your corner of the world.

Quynh Ly: I was very surprised that a lot of people like, wanted to buy flowers and help support these charities. And it was like a good surprise, because it makes them feel better in life in general. I think that it was really a fun project and that I would do it again.