It began during the first year of COVID, when family and friends were not allowed into seniors’ residences such as Centennial Place to prevent the spread of the virus. Weeks turned to months, and Louise Bedford, owner/operator of The Valley Shoppe in Millbrook, was approached to deliver flowers to residents in Centennial Place as a way to brighten up their days as winter approached. The gesture would not be as powerful as a visit from a loved one, but at least it was possible.
As she began to put the arrangements together, it seemed unfortunate that some would receive these gifts while others would not, so Louise began to seek donations in order to deliver the small arrangements to every resident. It worked.
Using fresh greens from Puddleduck farms tucked in a jam jar embellished with a bright red carnation, the mini arrangements were inexpensive and designed to last. She delivered more than 120 arrangements to the front desk at Centennial Place that first year: one for every resident.
The following year, people were contacting Louise to see if she was going to run the program again. Donations began to flow in, so she got started and decided to extend the program to the residents of the Millbrook Manor as well- requiring an additional 44 arrangements. Louise puts the jars together herself. There are no name tags- both donor and recipients are anonymous. This simplifies the process.
The Millbrook Manor is an apartment block and does not have a reception staff, so deliveries to those residents require a more personal touch. This year, members of Millbrook Minor Hockey’s U11 team delivered bouquets to Millbrook Manor apartments during the first week of December.
A donation of $15 covers the cost of a bouquet, up from $12 in the past. In addition to private donations, some service groups have contributed to the cause. This year the Millbrook Lions donated funds to cover 30 bouquets. All costs for this year’s deliveries have now been covered. Given the popularity of the program, expect to see it return come November. KG