For 13 years, Diane Anderson’s mother would bring flowers with her when she volunteered at a local seniors residence.
“A lot of (the residents) didn’t have friends or family that visited them very often and she found that they were very lonely,” Anderson said. “She personally likes flowers and thought she’d start having flowers brought in and have them distributed to these people.”
When Anderson’s mom retired from volunteering, her daughter didn’t want to see the tradition disappear. That’s when Stems from the Heart was born.
Two years ago, Anderson started approaching hotels to see what they did with leftover flowers from events. She gathered a group of volunteers and repurposed the bouquets into smaller pieces. She now gets donations from weddings, memorials, conferences and other events.
Stems from the Heart has donated 2,100 bouquets to seniors residences, hospice care facilities, Ronald McDonald House and hospitals.
“We distribute them to places in the city where people need a little sunshine, joy and happiness,” Anderson said.
On Monday, Anderson and a group of volunteers took dozens of bouquets to CapitalCare Grandview for residents.
Watch: Stems From The Heart repurposes floral bouquets and makes special deliveries to Edmonton seniors homes, hospitals and hospices.
Ellen McKay has been living at the facility since February and received her second bouquet.
“It’s just a lovely gesture and we appreciate it,” McKay said. “It’s just more contact with the outside world… with the life we used to have.”
Anderson and her volunteers also take the time to chat with those who receive the flowers.
“There’s a lot of lonely people out there,” she said. “They are happy to think that there is someone thinking about them.”