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Volunteers deliver spring to local seniors

For almost 900 seniors living in care homes from Port Moody to Maple Ridge, spring arrives on Saturday.
Wim Vander Zalm
Wim Vander Zalm of Art Knapp's in Port Coquitlam sorts through pansies like the ones that will be delivered by volunteers to seniors in care facilities in Port Moody, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge on Saturday. The "Blooms Into Rooms" project started 24 years ago and included just Eagle Ridge Manor in Port Moody but has since expanded to deliver more than 900 colourful spring plants donated by Art Knapp's as well as homemade greeting cards.

For almost 900 seniors living in care homes from Port Moody to Maple Ridge, spring arrives on Saturday.

That’s when teams of volunteers from various Catholic church parishes in the Tri-Cities and Maple Ridge will deliver flowering plants and handmade Easter cards to residents of nine seniors' care facilities.

Heather Thompson, one of the volunteers, said the effort started small 24 years ago when members of St. Joseph’s parish in Port Moody delivered Easter flowers donated by Art Knapp garden centre in Port Coquitlam to residents at Eagle Ridge Manor. But last year, at the behest of Art Knapp’s Wim Vander Zalm, the visits expanded to more homes, serving about 500 residents.

This year’s campaign is even bigger and it’s been given a name: Blooms into Rooms.

Thompson said volunteers, many of them children, have embraced the initiative.

“It’s just grown from word of mouth,” she said. “It really makes the community feel closer.”

Lori Carlisle, the recreation director at Eagle Ridge Manor in Port Moody, said the seniors love the social contact.

“It’s just a really positive event,” she said.

Carlisle said while some of the residents care for the plants in their rooms, others without a green thumb donate the plant back to the manor, where it’s placed in outdoor gardens for everyone to enjoy.

Thompson said the time taken by children to create the Easter cards and the visits to the seniors' homes on Easter Saturday have become a bit of a harbinger of the season.

“It brings some spring to everyone,” she said. “It’s very meaningful. It gives everybody hope.”