On any given night in Oklahoma City, there are 1,500 people who are experiencing homelessness. For many who have struggled with homelessness for an extended period of time, traditional employment can be out of reach. Curbside was created to provide employment and job skills training. But more than that, Curbside was created to build community and help break down socially-isolating walls that often exist between people who have homes and those who don’t.
It started with our Curbside Chronicle magazine providing low-barrier employment and amplifying the voices of people experiencing homelessness. Magazine vendors are paired with case managers to work on goals like housing. In recent years, the Curbside program has expanded its product line to include artist-designed wrapping paper and flower bouquets sold by vendors.
The community showed our small floral campaigns so much love, that we decided to embark on a brick-and-mortar flower shop. With a seed grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, Curbside Flowers was born. The flower shop enables us to employ people ready to move into a more traditional work environment. Each vendor completes a floral certification program courtesy of OSU-OKC and is trained in our retail shop. Vendors learn skills like time management, how to follow detailed instructions, and customer service, preparing them for the workforce.