Fam­i­lies get­ting ‘tea-p’d’

Lo­cal tea shop de­liv­er­ing signs, care pack­ages from loved ones across Or­lando neigh­bor­hoods

Orlando Sentinel - - Local & State - By Pa­trick Con­nolly

Around Or­lando, some fam­i­lies are gaz­ing out in their front yards only to dis­cover they’ve been “tea-p’d.” Ex­cept this kind of ges­ture is not looked upon with scowls and shak­ing fists, but rather with smiles and some­times tears of joy.

This form of “tea-p’ing,” sparked by In­fu­sion Tea own­ers Christina and Brad Cowherd, pro­vides orange signs, toi­let pa­per and loose leaf tea to Or­lando fam­i­lies in the form of care pack­ages sent from loved ones. What’s more, it’s pro­vid­ing jobs for In­fu­sion’s work­ers.

“We call it our lit­tle COVID mir­a­cle. We have been able to bring back all of our fur­loughed em­ploy­ees that want to come back. Ev­ery­one’s work­ing that wants to be work­ing,” Brad Cowherd said. “It’s good for the em­ploy­ees, it’s great for morale.”

When Christina first hatched

the idea about a month ago, the cou­ple thought they might de­liver 25 or 30 signs and “tea-p” pack­ages to their Col­lege Park neigh­bors. Then, the idea took off.

“They just caught on. We’ve now done over 1,300,” Brad Cowherd said. “We do de­liv­ery boxes for ev­ery­where else in the coun­try. On top of the signs, we’re mail­ing boxes ev­ery day and we’ve done about 1,000 of those.”

Cur­rently, the tea shop is de­liv­er­ing signs to Or­lando zip codes 32804, 32801, 32803, 32751, 32805, 32806 and 32789, but more may be added in the fu­ture. Each de­liv­ery in­cludes a sign read­ing, “You’ve been teap’d” along with the sender’s name, two rolls of toi­let pa­per and a bag of loose leaf tea, weather-proofed in a plas­tic bag.

In­fu­sion Tea em­ployee Lori Mi­nor has been out de­liv­er­ing

sev­eral times, some­times ac­com­pa­nied by her daugh­ter, Ivy. On an av­er­age trip, they’ll de­liver be­tween 25 and 35 signs to Col­lege Park, Win­ter Park, Mait­land and be­yond.

“I think peo­ple are happy to see us. Peo­ple come out and they’re in­quis­i­tive about what we’re do­ing ex­actly, but then they see the toi­let pa­per, the tea and who it’s from,” Mi­nor said. “A cou­ple of them have been re­duced to tears.”

She said de­liv­er­ies only seem to be in­creas­ing and she em­braces the op­por­tu­nity to work and spread joy in the com­mu­nity.

“It’s con­tact­less and you can show some love to some­body,” Mi­nor said. “For me, it’s a great op­por­tu­nity to go and do some­thing to still feel like I’m help­ing some­body or do­ing some­thing pro­duc­tive.”

Emily Blomquist, a long­time friend of the Cowherds, was pleas­antly sur­prised to see her “tea-p” pack­age show up on a gloomy day.

“It was such a nice sur­prise, es­pe­cially be­cause the day that we got it, it was a re­ally rainy and dreary day,” she said. “When we got that, ev­ery­body was so ex­cited in our house and we couldn’t wait to be able to pass that on.”

Fol­low­ing her de­liv­ery, Blomquist was able to pass along the act of kind­ness with two pack­ages sent to oth­ers, in­clud­ing her mom, a snow­bird who ended up stay­ing in Florida longer than she had in­tended.

Know­ing Brad and Christina Cowherd, Blomquist wasn’t sur­prised that they would come up with such an in­ge­nious idea to keep em­ploy­ees work­ing.

“Of course they would come up with some­thing so clever,” she said. “I feel like Brad and Christina are re­ally cre­ative with mak­ing things work and be­ing re­ally flex­i­ble.”

As it turns out, when Or­lan­doans get “tea-p’d,” ev­ery­one wins.

“Ev­ery day, some­body will call and just thank us for be­ing out and do­ing this. It re­ally raises peo­ple’s spir­its,” Brad Cowherd said. “Over­all, it’s been a great ex­pe­ri­ence for us and the com­mu­nity.”

Visit in­fu­sion or­lando.com/teapee to learn more about how to “tea-p” Or­lando friends and neigh­bors, or to send a care pack­age to those fur­ther away.

PA­TRICK CON­NOLLY/OR­LANDO SENTINEL PHO­TOS

Lori, right, and Ivy Mi­nor load up a car to de­liver “tea-p” care pack­ages from In­fu­sion Tea to Or­lando fam­i­lies.

A fam­ily in Col­lege Park was “tea-p’d” with a sign and pack­age.

PA­TRICK CON­NOLLY/OR­LANDO SENTINEL

A “tea-p” pack­age was de­liv­ered Tues­day to a Col­lege Park fam­ily from In­fu­sion Tea.

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