Plastic flamingos flying out of North Branford store for charity


NORTH BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Flowers are the passion for Van Wilgen’s, but lately flamingos are flying out the door at their North Branford gardening center.

“It’s kind of a little bit viral for this area and we’re a little shocked,” said owner Bill Van Wilgen. 

He says they saw them at a trade show and knew it could take off as a fundraiser.

“So we bought a bunch of them,” said Van Wilgen.

“My dad has been through a tremendous amount,” said Ryan, his son.

Bill has been diagnosed with cancer twice. In 2002, he fought breast cancer.

“That’s what I want everybody to understand, that it happens to males and I was fortunate to get hit in the breast and found out that I had a lump,” said Bill.

Six years later, he was hit with a leukemia diagnosis. Lately, he’s had a clean bill of health, and to show his gratitude, they’re offering up the cheery lawn ornaments for adoption.

“We never thought we’d hear the word flamingo so many times in a week,” said Ryan.

Van Wilgen’s buys them for about $4 a bird. You adopt them for $10. All of the money goes toward the Smilow Cancer Center.

“It’s been a great time,” said Ryan.

Six-hundred have already soared out, finding new homes. He hopes in addition to a donation, they could save a life.

“Be aware, that’s the whole key. Be aware,” said Bill.

They’re up for adoption until the 28th.

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