A line of customers formed in the floral department of Dillons Marketplace on Wednesday morning waiting to check out with purchases of flower arrangements and balloons to surprise loved ones for Valentine’s Day.

Meanwhile, in the store's parking lot, Jesseca Huff, assistant store manager, and Kristen Honeycutt, home department manager, had packed Huff’s van to the brim with buckets of single-stem roses to deliver to three retirement communities around Hutchinson as part of the annual Heart to Heart campaign.

Their first delivery was at Waldron Place where a portion of the 2,500 roses donated by Dillons customers and associates were delivered.

Don and Marge Keasling, residents who had been voted king and queen for the day, would be handing out a rose to each resident, said Sue Schmidt, activities director.

While some residents might bask in flowers and candy on this day designated to show love for others, sometimes older residents are overlooked on Feb. 14. Making sure they aren't is what the Heart to Heart campaign is all about, said Sheila Lowrie, Dillons spokeswoman.

The program began in 2012, and since then, more than 180,000 roses have been delivered on Valentine’s Day around the state. For every paper rose purchased for $3.99 at Dillons earlier this month, a single-stem rose was delivered to someone in the community.

Because 2,500 roses are a lot to deliver, Huff and Honeycutt began on Tuesday, delivering to Hospice House, Meals on Wheels and the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Center.

“We received 210 roses,” said Kaitlin Tucker, administrative assistant at the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Center. They have been handed out to those attending their support group meetings and to clients. They would also be given to those coming for child visitation and to the staff.

The delivery of so many roses raised spirits.

“It was an exciting way to brighten the day,” Tucker said.

At Good Samaritan Hutchinson Village, Nicole Irwin, activities director, said she would be busy handing out roses during lunch.

“It’s adorable to watch,” said Karen Baker, a staff member, regarding the residents' reaction to receiving the roses. “The love oozes out.”

It’s a simple rose, but Lowrie said for many, it’s a chance to share a favorite memory or personal story. Just receiving a rose will remind them of a loved one or a special time.

Baker was appreciative of the roses for those who are often forgotten.

Brookdale was their last stop of the day. But before heading there, Huff and Honeycutt had to go back to Dillons to pick up more buckets of roses.

“The teams at Dillons are so excited to share a little cheer this Valentine’s Day with Heart to Heart,” Lowrie said. “Quite often, it’s the little unexpected things that can bring the joy, which is what makes Heart to Heart so special.”

All the roses purchased stayed in the community where they were purchased, she said. Wichita Dillons would be delivering 15,000 roses, the most in the state. But Hutchinson was second with 2,500, followed by 2,210 roses in Topeka.