‘It makes me emotional:’ Local florists band together to raise money for Asian communities

Kim Francisco started Tulong Tulong, a floral fundraising initiative last November to raise money for typhoon relief in the Philippines. “Tulong tulong means ‘helping each other together’ in Tagalog, my first language,” says Francisco, the owner of Paraluman Flora and co-founder of Tahanan Studios. “We created this initiative as an effort to hold space and provide support to those who need it, whether they are from back home or here in Toronto.” Francisco just wrapped the second iteration of Tulong Tulong: a virtual raffle for which 15 floral studios donated an arrangement. In a week, the raffle raised $8,860 for Butterfly and Maggie, local organizations that support BIPOC and Asian sex workers. Francisco was in “disbelief” at the success.“It makes me emotional, actually,” says Francisco. “The past two weeks have been so devastating for our Asian community and having people gather and contribute to this gives me hope. The thought of my beautiful nieces and nephews having to live in a world where they are looked down upon — that’s what pushes me to do more that will hopefully contribute to long- term improvements. We have a long way to go — money doesn’t solve the deeply rooted issues we face — but it’s something for now.”Francisco adds that blooms themselves bring “so much” joy: “Nothing beats making people happy through flowers.”

‘It makes me emotional:’ Local florists band together to raise money for Asian communities

Kim Francisco started Tulong Tulong, a floral fundraising initiative last November to raise money for typhoon relief in the Philippines. “Tulong tulong means ‘helping each other together’ in Tagalog, my first language,” says Francisco, the owner of Paraluman Flora and co-founder of Tahanan Studios. “We created this initiative as an effort to hold space and provide support to those who need it, whether they are from back home or here in Toronto.”

Francisco just wrapped the second iteration of Tulong Tulong: a virtual raffle for which 15 floral studios donated an arrangement. In a week, the raffle raised $8,860 for Butterfly and Maggie, local organizations that support BIPOC and Asian sex workers. Francisco was in “disbelief” at the success.

“It makes me emotional, actually,” says Francisco. “The past two weeks have been so devastating for our Asian community and having people gather and contribute to this gives me hope. The thought of my beautiful nieces and nephews having to live in a world where they are looked down upon — that’s what pushes me to do more that will hopefully contribute to long- term improvements. We have a long way to go — money doesn’t solve the deeply rooted issues we face — but it’s something for now.”

Francisco adds that blooms themselves bring “so much” joy: “Nothing beats making people happy through flowers.”