Breckenridge chapter of PEO gears up for annual flower sale
PEO Flower Sale
Date: June 18
Time: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Location: Neils Lunceford, 160 Farmer’s Lane, Breckenridge
To order early, contact Sharil Caffery at (970) 668-3578 or (970) 485-2345
The women of the Breckenridge chapter of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) work year-round to brighten the lives of women through education. This month, they’re also hoping to bring color to the homes and gardens of Summit County residents through their annual flower sale.
For more than 10 years, the sale has served as one of the main fundraisers for the Breckenridge PEO. Every June, Neils Lunceford donates red, pink and white geraniums as well as mixed hanging baskets to sell to hopeful gardeners.
“This flower sale is the largest fundraiser that our chapter has each year,” said chapter president Patti Casey. “It provides the bulk of the funds that we have available for our projects.”
One such project is providing scholarships to graduating Summit High School students. This year, PEO awarded two $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors. Each PEO chapter also donates money annually toward the organization’s six international projects, which focus on grants, scholarships and loans for women’s education.
A consistent mission
The original PEO chapter was founded in Iowa in 1869 by seven forward-thinking women, who wanted to create more educational opportunities for their gender. Now the organization has more than 6,000 chapters across the U.S. and Canada, including 242 within Colorado. Since its inception, PEO has contributed approximately a quarter of a billion dollars toward women’s educational opportunities.
Summit County is home to two PEO chapters — the IB chapter in Dillon and the FU chapter in Breckenridge. Each chapter has its own fundraising projects, such as the flower sale.
Now, the Breckenridge chapter is hoping to expand its influence in the county, working with Colorado Mountain College and the Family & Intercultural Resource Center, among others, to reach more women.
“In the past, those local awards have all been to Summit High School students,” Casey said. “Looking forward, we are looking at the possibilities of expanding those local awards to more of community awards, which could include CMC students, women who want to get their GED and just women in the community who otherwise need help with education.”
The key to this expansion, Casey added, is the success of fundraisers like the flower sale.
“If we can keep increasing our fundraising, it will give us the opportunity to do more in our local community.”
Last year, the group sold 180 flower baskets and around 400 geraniums.
“That’s what we’re hoping for again this year,” said PEO member and flower sale chair Sharil Caffery.
One of the reasons for focusing on geraniums is the flower’s hardy nature, Casey said. With the unpredictable weather and cool mountain nights, many flowers wouldn’t be able to survive at this altitude. Geraniums, however, do well.
“They’re a sure bet up here,” she said.
The flower sale allows two options for potential buyers — ordering ahead of time or buying the flowers directly from the June 18 sale, held at Neils Lunceford in Breckenridge.
Caffery and Casey encourage anyone with a green thumb or a desire to brighten up their gardens to buy some flowers and support the PEO’s mission of education for local women.
“The more flowers we sell, the more we can do,” Casey said.
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