Traveling north and south in the Upper Keys, Islamorada flower shop owner Maria Estrada visits hotels, restaurants and businesses daily with a selection of flowers for purchase. 

Among the stops is Cheeca Lodge & Spa in Islamorada. Not only does she make deliveries to the resort, but she also tends to the orchids at the lobby and casita rooms. 

Estrada’s orchids are so beautiful that they attracted the resort general manager’s attention one day. That led to the creation of the first Cheeca Lodge & Spa Orchid Celebration, set for April 25.

“He said he had an idea of an orchid show. I said ‘Yeah, sure. But you know my company is a nonprofit organization. We need to help the children,’” Estrada said.  

Proceeds from the event, which will see orchid specialists from South Florida, will go to Maria’s Hope & Prosperity Foundation. Dedicated to helping families and children in Monroe County,  Estrada said September will mark 48 years of her nonprofit’s work to get school supplies for students in need. 

Cheeca Lodge & Spa is focused on bringing more charitable events to the community, especially those that emphasize the natural surroundings in the Florida Keys, said resort manager Bill Coteron.  And with many students not having access to personal computers during the time of online learning, he said it’s crucial to partner with organizations like Maria’s Hope and Prosperity Foundation to support underprivileged families.

“Being a staple of the community for 75 years, our goal at Cheeca Lodge & Spa is to consistently support our incredible local community that has kept us going all these years,” he said. “We are excited to keep building on the Orchid Celebration for many years to come.”

Estrada said she’s hoping to raise enough money to buy 90 laptops. Estrada’s nonprofit supports children as far north as Key Largo and south to Sugarloaf. 

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“We help with the basic things the schools ask for, like pencils and paper and backpacks and laptops,” she said. 

Estrada said the vendors at the upcoming orchid show are specialists who know quite a bit about orchids. 

“It’s going to be a very nice event. I’m hoping that thousands will show up,” she said. 

The orchid show goes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 25.

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