Because of you!
Because of you, Bouquets of Kindness reached on average, 100 senior citizens per month.
We delivered essential items such as toilet paper, laundry detergent, pull-ups, pet food, treats, wipes, razors, soap and much more.
In 2021 we provided 300 Valentines Day Treat bags, hosted a Brews, Do’s and Tattoo party, and a Sock-Hop Christmas party. In total we gave out 1,000 pairs of new socks, 300 lap blankets, 125 walker/cady bags and 300 gift bags.
With so many places still not allowing us to come and create floral arrangements, we are still involved in helping our local senior citizens
In 2021 our operating cost were $7,688. and a total of $12,000 was spent to care for our seniors. Sadly, we are quickly learning that “inflation” has already caused an increase of nearly double on things (commercial insurance, fuel, and food…all cost more) understanding that inflation has hit everyone, including our seniors.
We are excited to continue providing for seniors every way we can.
Your generosity made 2021 possible, made it possible to give over 10,000 bottles of water and nearly 10,000 adult pull-ups. Words aren’t enough to express our gratitude.
Local nonprofit brightens days for the elderly
Originally Published In Folio Magazine
Sophistication used to carry status. Jazz used to be hip. Having life experience meant you were someone with answers. In short, the older you got, the more value you had to society.
Somewhere along the way, the script got flipped. Youth is the order of the day; we have collectively swallowed the idolization of youth culture. The elderly are relegated to nursing homes, eldercare facilities, assisted living, retirement homes, etc. to pass their remaining days, often forgotten and ignored by collective society.
A new 501(c)3 nonprofit launched last year with a mission to bring life, connection and color to Northeast Florida’s older population is Bouquets of Kindness. Founded by Lisa Kirkwood, the organization works with florists, wedding planners, floral designers, and local merchants to repurpose flowers once destined for the trash. The flowers make their way, by way of Bouquets of Kindness’ volunteers, to assisted living and other senior facilities where seniors gather to assemble bouquets for their rooms, their facilities and for loved ones.
“The impact is felt each and every time a delivery of fresh flowers arrives from Bouquets of Kindness—there are ooh’s and ah’s received as they see her bring them in. The camaraderie, excitement and joy it brings as they gather together to arrange is precious,” says Kathy Rhoden, service coordinator for Riverside Presbyterian House, a public housing facility in 5 Points.
“One of the ladies owned a flower shop for years, so she teaches as she arranges. Some residents cut stems, one will hand the vases to her, ones who can’t cut will fill vases with water, some deliver to a resident recently home from rehab or the hospital, or one just having a bad day, a hospice resident, or maybe pinning a broken flower on the lapel of a staff person always puts smiles on their faces.”
Currently every week more than 100 bouquets are made and placed in facilities in the Riverside, Avondale and Ortega areas, at an estimated weekly value of around $5,000 in flowers. Since its inception, Bouquets of Kindness has delivered approximately 5,000 bouquets.
Kirkwood’s home serves as a makeshift office and floral studio, receiving three to four deliveries a week. Her core team of volunteers, currently numbering around a half-dozen, diligently unloads, cuts and processes the flowers, getting them ready for senior hands.
In addition to the flowers, volunteers bring containers for making bouquets, scissors and other supplies that many of these facilities lack.
Bouquets of Kindness will deliver fresh bouquets to facilities or work with those facilities to provide “flower therapy” for residents, allowing the seniors to partake in making their own arrangements.
“Bouquets of Kindness has given my dad a creative outlet. When my father first moved to assisted living, he had come out of two months of intense physical therapy,” says Rebecca McNeill, daughter of a resident of one of the facilities Bouquets of Kindness serves. “He could not walk long distances without his walker … stand[ing] for long periods of time [would wipe] him out. With the help of many caregivers and physical therapists, he has mobility back, but was still challenged.
“One afternoon, when flower arranging, he stood for one hour and a half before taking a break. By the flower donations being delivered to his home at assisted living, we can just walk down the hall and he can create. I can’t thank them enough.”
As the nonprofit grows through donations from the community and corporate sponsorships, the organization hopes to run things from a processing facility where Boy and Girl Scout Troops, homeschool groups, and other local community organizations could become part of the volunteer network. Kirkwood imagines a time when each organization could adopt a particular facility and build relationships through flowers.
At the moment, it continues as a mom-and-pop organization fronted by Kirkwood and her husband Clark. (The two also own and manage Clark’s Music on the Westside.) Kirkwood delivers flowers in her 2013 Ford Fusion, pooling donations for gas for her volunteers, buying supplies for facilities, and building her network as a one-woman show looking to build bridges between young and old, one floral arrangement at a time.
“This work is critical to show that those folks are still important and people are still thinking of them—some of them have no visitors at all,” says Kirkwood. “Just that spark of brightness for their room makes a big change for them and us. It matters … they matter.”
Lisa and Vanessa Featured In Resident Magazine
Bouquets Of Kindness On Good Morning Jacksonville
Welcome To Bouquets Of Kindess
Bouquets of Kindness accepts donations of floral arrangements from events, weddings, funerals, florists and grocery stores. Flowers that were destined for the landfill are refreshed into new bouquets.
The bouquets and loose flowers are then delivered to our neighbors in hospice, hospitals, long-term care homes and other places where flowers can make an impact. Silk flowers are given to patients in children’s hospitals.
Our volunteers will deliver these bouquets to the rooms and visit with each person to brighten their day.
Monitary donations allow us to purchase supplies at wholesale prices.