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Cancellation of popular plant sale leaves Quaker school down $450,000

It's asking for donations to make up for the loss.

Among the many cancellations forced by the coronavirus outbreak in the Twin Cities is the Friends School Plant Sale, the popular annual event held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul.

The huge plant sale held over Mother's Day weekend typically attracts thousands of shoppers eager to spruce up their gardens, but the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the State Fairgrounds to cancel all events through mid-May.

Organizers at the Friends School, a Quaker school in St. Paul, had looked into the possibility that the sale could continue in the form of a pre-order and curbside pickup operation.

However, it was announced on Tuesday that its efforts to convert the event proved "logistically impossible" despite the best efforts of staff "to keep a version of the sale we all love."

The cancelation will mean the loss of an expected $450,000 typically raised during the sale, which goes towards funding school operations.

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"It was very difficult to make this decision, balancing our responsibility to the community, our growers, and the school," organizers noted, saying that it's due to a combination of the likely loss of volunteers due to illness "and the spatial distancing that will more than likely still be required in April and May."

"We cannot ask any of our volunteers or shoppers to risk their health," it concluded, noting that many of its core volunteers are over 60 and some have underlying health conditions. "One year’s sale is not worth the risk."

As a result of the sale's cancellation, the Friends School is asking people to support the school directly by donating here https://fsmn.org/donate.

Furthermore, it's published a list of the growers who are missing out on the sales and who have retail operations of their own. You can find it here: https://www.friendsschoolplantsale.com/faq-2020

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