BY DICK GOFF
“Say it with flowers!”
How many times have we heard that slogan? How often do each of us give or send flowers as a message? A message of love or friendship, of thanks, of joy or comfort, of caring and good wishes?
Island Volunteer Caregivers (IVC), formerly Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, offers a way in which, through flowers, a large number of us can give messages that will mean so much to vulnerable neighbors who receive them. It’s called “Flowers From the Heart” — a program that runs every year from June through the end of August. Its success depends on the generosity of many caring people in our community.
Here’s how it works: As your flowers begin to bloom, bring as many of them as you like to Eagle Harbor Congregational Church (Winslow Way and Madison) any weekday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and place them in the water-filled buckets located on the front porch of the church.
IVC volunteers will then arrange the flowers into beautiful bouquets and deliver them to persons who are shut in, are burdened with disabilities, illness or injury or need some cheer for other reasons. The recipients are persons living in their own homes and those living in care facilities.
Invariably, delivery of the bouquets is a very happy, heartening surprise to their recipients. Here are two examples:
Volunteers delivered a bouquet to an elderly bed-ridden lady at Island Rehab. Her loving husband was by her side. As the flowers were to presented to her, her husband exclaimed, “What a generous gift you have brought to my wife. Today is her birthday and this will brighten her day.”
A volunteer visited another recipient at her home. As she saw the flowers she said, “I have been ill for sometime now. This must be a sign from God that I am going to feel better. How did you know that my spirits needed lifting?”
In addition to donations of flowers, this year more volunteers are needed to help in arranging the bouquets and delivering them to recipients.
According to volunteers Sandy Young and Maureen Jurcak, who are again coordinating the program, each volunteer will be asked to help each weekday during a single week, to be agreed on, as part of a two-person team. Typically this will take about two hours each day.
For each week, IVC staff and the coordinators will provide the names and contact information of intended recipients. If you are interested, please call Sandy at 842-7252 or Maureen at 842-4684 for more information.
The volunteers who deliver the bouquets experience first-hand the delight and heartfelt thanks with which they are received. By contrast, for those of us who donate the flowers, our gifts are anonymous. Yet our rewards are rich.
In this way we will be feeling and expressing our gratitude for some of our blessings by sharing them with others. More, each of us will have the joy of knowing that our gifts will be messages of gladness, beauty and hope to a neighbor or neighbors struggling with loneliness, disability or other sufferings. A message that says: “You are special and valued. We care about you. We hope this gives you cheer.”
Say it with flowers.
Dick Goff is a board member of Island Volunteer Caregivers. Persons interested in helping with or supporting other IVC volunteer services are invited to call IVC at 842-4441 for more information.