Not All Super Heroes Wear Capes

iStock Photo
…. Some wear Pink Aprons!

At the Annual Volunteer Party in December, another Super Hero was added to the ranks of the Power of Flowers Pink Apron Award Recipients.

Twice a year a ballot is sent to all those on the Power of Flowers roster to vote for that individual who is most deserving of the award… the person who demonstrates outstanding dedication, generosity, and efforts in carrying out the mission of the POF project.

Kali W. tallies all the votes and announces the winners in June and in December of each year. After counting the batch of ballots this December, Jane R. emerged as the winner in a tight field of talented volunteers.

Photo by Rosemary B. Intingaro

The spotlight was on Jane R. as Kali W. presented her with the coveted Pink Apron Award

Jane, much loved by many, has quite a history at the Power of Flowers.

Most recently, she headed the committee responsible for the Annual Volunteer Holiday Party. She also turned in a stellar performance as Chair of the Silent Auction during the Spread the Joy Luncheon in October.

Her name has consistently appeared in the upper stratosphere of volunteer hours logged. She’s tenacious, effective, efficient; and she handles it all with style, grace and a winning smile! Her laugh is infectious!

Jane, congratulations on your well-deserved award, and thank you for your unwavering commitment to the Power of Flowers Project.

Jane R. Wearing Her Pink Apron Award (and her Winning Smile)

Jane R., welcome to the sisterhood of other Pink Apron Award Winners: Joyce B., Linda C., and Liz J.

Volunteers Making Merry

Photo by Liz JegasothyOn December 14, many of the Power of Flowers Volunteers took a brief break from making signature bouquets and started making merry at The Annual POF Volunteer Holiday Party.

We thank our friends at the Tewksbury Senior Center for kindly allowing us to use their wonderful, festively decorated room, which comfortably fit the approximately 50 volunteers who attended.

And those who attended had a great time catching up and making new friends. The room was bright with Christmas lights and each table had one of our own lighted boxwood trees or pretty candle centerpieces created by the POF Decorating Committee. There was quite a variety of delectable dishes people brought to share. It’s safe to say that no one went home hungry. Photo by Liz Jegasothy

While everyone was enjoying the meal, Joyce B. made several end-of-the-year announcements that put everyone in the holiday spirit:Photo by Rosemary B. Intingaro

133 Volunteers gave 9,439 hours of their time making and delivering 18,184 bouquets in 2017!

During 2017, POF held 65 Power Therapy Workshops at Assisted Living, Senior Center, and Nursing Home Locations!

Kali W. awarded several certificates to volunteers who had performed over and above the call of duty. Some of the recipients were:

    Lois A. – for Chairing our super-successful Spread the Joy Luncheon fundraiser.
    Joyce B. – for being the most traveled picker-upper volunteer.
    Barbara B. – for being Recycling Program Leader extraordinaire!
    Rita B. – for generally being referred to as The Energizer Bunny of the workshop! Photo by Rosemary B. Intingaro
    Linda C. – for being the Monday Power Volunteer and being fun, enthusiastic, and focused on creating the most bouquets.
    Phyllis D. – for Chairing the 2017 Plant Sale and for being, sweet, positive, and thorough.
    Maria F.– for Chairing the Flower Therapy Workshops and being a pleasure to work with!
    Mary G. – who is always ready and willing to pick up and make deliveries anytime.
    Liz J. – for making volunteer callout communications seamless as well as entertaining. Photo by Rosemary B. Intingaro
    Barbara M. – for her sparkling personality and genius marketing skills which made our first Victorian Tea a HUGE success.

But then, it was time to award the Academy-Golden Globe-Triple Crown Award: the POF Pink Apron. The Pink Apron Award is given twice a year (in May and December) to the person who has received the most votes from the Volunteers in a secret ballot.

Photo by Rosemary B. Intingaro
Jane R. was presented with the Pink Apron Award for her contributions and for demonstrating outstanding dedication, generosity, and effort in carrying out the mission of the POF project. And she did it all with grace, charm, and a great sense of humor To thunderous applause, Jane now joins the exalted ranks of Joyce B., Linda C., and Liz J. who are previous pink apron winners.

You can read more about Jane and The Pink Apron Award in the blog post “Not All Super Heros Wear Capes.”

Much hilarity ensued after the awards were given when everyone participated in the Saran Wrap Ball Game… Photo by Rosemary B. Intingaro
The Saran Wrap ball was passed to a volunteer who unwrapped the plastic to reveal many wonderful prizes: candy, gift cards and certificate for larger prizes, such as wine, The volunteer continued unwrapping as fast as she could until another volunteer rolled doubles on a pair of dice. Then the ball was passed to the next volunteer. Round and round the ball went with lots of laughter until it was depleted (the ball, certainly not the laughter!). Photo by Rosemary B. Intingaro

As at the Volunteer Appreciation Brunch in June, volunteers brought much needed items for the residents of the battered women’s safe house and their children. The focus this time was on toys for the children as well as necessities for their moms. Many hands helped pack up the gifts and put them in a van to be delivered to the home. Photo by Rosemary Intingaro

After making quick work of cleaning up, attendees chose a charming little gift bag filled with candy and a hand-made Power of Flowers ceramic ornament on their way out.

Jane R. and her committee did a fantastic job putting together the fun, festive evening. Thanks to them, the Annual Volunteer Holiday Party 2017 was a rousing success!

Thanks to all who attended and brought goodies and those who planned, decorated, and made the event happen.

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good NightPhoto by Rosemary B. Intingaro

Kindness Makes a Connection with Salesforce

Salesforce Logo on Bouquets Headed to Stonebridge Residents

The Power of Flowers Project kicked off our 2018 Kindness Connection Program with a hearty VIP (volunteering in place) session at Salesforce, Inc., in Burlington, MA. Kindness Connection is a way for Power of Flowers Project to connect with corporate social responsibility initiatives.

With sunlight streaming in the floor to ceiling windows, the room was perfect for the activity. Suki H., our host at Salesforce and also a Power of Flowers Project volunteer, welcomed the 23 participants to the session. Leslie K. then thanked Salesforce for hosting this VIP session and the participants for donating their time. Joyce B. provided context by explaining who we are, what we do, and why it matters.

In turn, the participants explained why they chose to spend their time with us making bouquets. Several had family members who had been in assisted living and wanted to give back, others love flowers, and all wanted to make someone smile.

And smile we did! Participants busily followed Joyce’s instructions for creating the collar, inserting the line flower, selecting the focal flowers, and touching up with texture. Power of Flowers Project volunteers, Daisy V. and Muriel S., assisted the group by distributing supplies, answering questions, and providing feedback on flower selection and design. The resulting bouquets put a smile on all our faces.

Salesforce Volunteers Create Beautiful Bouquets


Smiling Participants Display Their Creations

The 23 participants contributed money to attend the session and donated their time and energy to create something beautiful to give to someone in need. They produced 36 gorgeous creations which our host, Suki H., delivered to residents at Stonebridge in Burlington. Many more smiles happened that day.

Salesforce Employees Give Back through our Volunteering In Place (VIP) Session

If you know of a business or corporation interested in providing this opportunity to their employees, please contact Leslie Kirle, Executive Director.

Holiday Presents Came Early this Year…

By Iwona Erskine-Kellie (Flickr: [1]) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

“…From angels bending near the earth, To touch their harps of gold”

We are so incredibly grateful to many angels for their generous gifts throughout the holiday season, and we’d like to share the news with you.

Brian and Grace Charland presenting Leslie K. and Joyce B. with the first of four generous gifts.

Brian and Grace Charland presenting Leslie K. and Joyce B. with the first of four generous gifts from the Raymond and Elaclaire Gosselin Charitable Foundation

 

We are very excited to report that we received the largest donation in the history of the Power of Flowers project to date from the Raymond and Elaclaire Gosselin Charitable Foundation. They love what we do, so the Trustees of the Foundation donated $60,000 to be given to us in equal installments over 4 years. In December Brian and Grace Charland, Trustees of the Foundation, presented Power of Flowers with the first check for $15,000.

In other angel news, Quota International of Andover awarded us a $300 grant, which POF will use to hold 2 Flower Therapy Workshops in Andover. The workshops will be held at the Punchard Senior Center and the Memorial Hall Library of Andover in the coming weeks. In addition to making seniors in the Andover area happy, this wonderful grant will help us to raise awareness of POF in the community and to attract new volunteers.

Donations come from so many sources: foundations, service organizations, as well as our constituency.

Photo by Rosemary B. IntingaroOur good friends, the angels at Brightview at Concord River, hosted a fundraising event, Trinkets to Treasures, for POF in November. Many people attended that fun evening and purchased donated jewelry and other treasures. Recently, the staff at Brightview presented us with a check for $771, which represented 100% of the sales during the event.

Also in December, POF received a Community Service Award from the Lowell World AIDS Day Committee. We sincerely appreciate their recognizing the work we do at POF and their joy at receiving our bouquets.

Other angels include POF Volunteers who rose to the occasion and made donations before the end of the year, which were matched by a very special anonymous angel. The Volunteer Contribution Matching Program will be the focus of another post and provide more details.

To all our angels: Raymond and Elaclaire Gosselin Charitable Foundation, Quota International of Andover, Brightview-Concord River, Lowell World AIDS Day Committee, and all Power of Flowers Volunteers, a heartfelt, sincere thanks. We are so very grateful for your generosity.

To quote Victor Hugo, ” You must be an angel since you care for flowers.” Photo by Rosemary B. Intingaro

Poinsettias: Beautiful Flowers of the Season

Attribution: By Photo (c)2007 Helen Filatova (Photo taken by Helen Filatova at Free Photos) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Everywhere you look this time of year you’ll probably see wonderful poinsettia plants. (According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the standard pronunciation is poin•set•tia).

You’ll see them in malls, shops, churches, restaurants… everywhere a little Christmas color and life are wanted.

Where you won’t see them is growing in people’s yards here in New England.

Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima, a member of the spurge family) are tropical plants usually found in Central America and Mexico. In fact, the English name Poinsettia is derived from the first United States Minister to Mexico, Joel R. Poinsett, who introduced the plant to the U. S. in 1825.

By Frank Vincentz (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia CommonsWe think of Poinsettias as having red flowers and green leaves, but actually, the red “petals” are also leaves called bracts. The poinsettia flowers are the little yellow berry-like buds in the center of the plant.

By No machine-readable author provided. Maxwahrhaftig~commonswiki assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia CommonsToday, poinsettia can be found with a dazzling array of colors not just flaming red but orange, pale green, cream, pink, white, or marbled.

When buying poinsettias, choose plants with strong stems and no sign of breakage or wilting. Bracts should be in full color with no green edges. The buds should be yellow with little or no pollen.

To preserve them throughout the season, keep your poinsettia in filtered sunlight for at least 6 hours a day with room temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees. As tropical plants, they don’t like drafts or cold. Water your plant only when the soil is dry to the touch.

While poinsettias are easy to care for, it’s a whole different ballgame to keep your plant through the year and have it bloom next Christmas. If you’re adventurous and are up to a challenge, there are plenty of places on the web that will describe how to do this.

Poisonous Poinsettias? Many people think that ingesting parts of the poinsettia plant is poisonous to cats, dogs, or kids. Most websites will tell you that this isn’t true (WebMD and the Pet Poison Hotline for example), but they do say that eating a quantity can produce forms of gastrointestinal upset (i.e., diarrhea and vomiting). So, I’m thinking that to have a happy holiday for ALL concerned, keep kids and pets away from the plants, but if a small amount gets eaten, don’t panic.Photo by Rosemary B. Intingaro

All of us here at the Power of Flowers Project wish you and your family and friends a Very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

We’ve Got Mail!

Photo by Rosemary B. Intingaro

Meals on Wheels programs are often recipients of Power of Flowers signature bouquets. Minuteman Senior Services is the agency responsible for this important nutrition program in several local communities. A MSS volunteer driver, Patty D., wrote us this lovely note after witnessing a Power of Flowers delivery to the Meals on Wheel program in Bedford:

 

I volunteer with Bedford Meals-on-Wheels and serving lunch in the Senior Center. This week Bedford was blessed to receive your glorious bouquets. I witnessed and want share with all of you the transformative power of your flowers. Everyone that walked in, stopped. Smiled at the beauty, the kindness, the care. Marveled at how unique each was, and the scent. Like fresh life itself. Thank you. I’m a gardener, but honestly, I’ve never seen flowers change everyone in the room before.

Thank you, Patty D,

What a joy to open the door to a hot meal and an artful bouquet.

Thank you, Patty. We love hearing how our work affects people… it’s why we do what we do.

It means so much to us to hear first-hand stories of the impact POF has in the community.

We love getting mail!

Giving Thanks

Freedom from Want from the Four Freedoms Series by Norman Rockwell, 1943

We at Power of Flowers want to wish you and your friends and family a very happy Thanksgiving.

Among the many things that we are thankful for are all the folks who have been so supportive of our organization over the years.

    • all our wonderful Volunteers, most of whom go over and above the call of duty
    • the wise and knowledgeable Members of the Board who have guided POF so successfully
    • our many Sponsors who have been so very supportive in our endeavors
    • the Community, which has embraced our mission and has repeatedly shown us kindness and consideration
    • and YOU. You who have generously donated time, money, goods, and flowers to the organization.

We are so very grateful and couldn’t do what we do without ALL of you.

Just a reminder about #GivingTuesday, November 28. We hope you can participate in some way to support your favorite charity, by donating time, money, or goods. There are many ways to give on #GivingTuesday. Please remember that any donations POF Volunteers make to the Power of Flowers Project before the end of the year will be matched by an anonymous donor up to $1,500.

Volunteers Urgently Needed…

Photo by John Morgan from Walnut Creek, CA, USA (Ornament) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons… to have a ball at the annual Volunteer Holiday Party to be held on Thursday, December 14, at the Tewksbury Senior Center, 175 Chandler Street, Tewksbury, from 6 PM to 8 PM.

As in the past, it will be pot-luck. So bring something scrumptious from your holiday repertoire of goodies… appetizers, main dishes, desserts, beverages (wine, soda, water) … whatever you’d like to bring. There’s a sign up sheet in the Workshop to indicate that you’re coming and what you’re bringing. If you want to join in the festivities, but won’t be in the Workshop until after the party, please email Jane Rizzo at janerizzo125@ Comcast.net.

By David Whelan [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

In addition to great food and stunning decorations (provided by Jane R. and her decoration elves), there will be a Saran Wrap Ball Game. If you’ve never had the pleasure, a Saran Wrap Ball is a large, ball made out of many layers of (yup) Saran Wrap. The lucky contestants, unwrap as quickly as possible to reveal wonderful prizes hidden in the layers. After the allotted time (determined by dice), the ball moves to the next person, and so on. FUN!

There will be other surprises galore, including the awarding of the 4th Pink Apron Award. Ballots will be emailed to all volunteers in the days to come and the person most deserving of the coveted award will be announced at the Party.

The Holiday Party is a great way for POF to thank all volunteers for the great work they do throughout the year. And it’s a great chance for volunteers to socialize, catch up with other volunteers, and seriously get into the Christmas Holiday spirit.

By Steve Karg [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
As we did at the Volunteer Appreciation Brunch in June, we are also planning to collect useful items for the “safe house” shelter for battered women and their children. A letter with information about the items needed will be coming out soon. Here’s a link to Amazon, to give you some ideas for children’s toys. (Remember: when you make your purchases on Amazon Smile, a portion of the purchase price goes to the Power of Flowers Project, too.)

 

So, circle your calendars, get out your festive finery, and come one, come all to celebrate that we each have this wonderful group of volunteers in our lives.

By Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

It’s Time to Deck the Halls … with Boxwood Trees and Kissing Balls

Won’t you join us for either or both of these two fun evening workshops hosted by the Power of Flowers Project and make your own decorations for the holidays.
Boxwood Tree

The Boxwood Tree Workshop is Tuesday, December 5 from 6 PM to 8 PM at the Power of Flower Workshop, 365 East Street, Tewksbury, MA

Create your own boxwood tree with fresh boxwood, twinkling LED lights, shiny baubles, scented cinnamon sticks, pine cones, colorful ribbons, and more. The cost of $60 per person includes all the things you’ll need to create a Boxwood Tree similar to that in the picture. POF Volunteers will be on hand to help you to create a tree that’s uniquely your own.

Boxwood trees make wonderful centerpieces for a holiday table or a delightful gift for someone whose space is limited or who can’t put up his or her own tree. It brings a little bit of sparkle and light and holiday cheer. They’re a perfect size for an office or desk, too.

Click here to register for the Boxwood Tree Workshop

The Kissing Ball Workshop is Friday, December 8 from 6 PM to 8 PM at the Weston Nurseries Garden Center, 160 Pine Hill Road, Chelmsford, MA

Create your own outdoor holiday hanging Kissing Ball with fragrant fresh greenery, ribbon, pine cones and colorful metallic ornaments. The Workshop fee of $45 includes everything you need to create a Kissing Ball similar to that pictured here.

Want to add more dazzle to your creation? No problem. Weston Nurseries will be open for your holiday shopping pleasure, and they have a huge variety of decorations and festive adornments.

Kissing Balls make a charming way to welcome guests to your door or they’re wonderful gifts for your hostess, friends, coworkers…. just about anyone who has an outside door

Click here to register for the Kissing Ball Workshop.

Light refreshments, also included in the Workshop fee, will be served at both Workshops.


If last year was any indication, a fun, festive time will be had by all!

We all had a blast last year and we look forward to seeing you this year!

#GivingTuesday is November 28, 2017

Still Life with Turkey Pie, Pieter Claesz 1627

 

Halloween 2017 is history. (Wait a minute. Wasn’t it just Labor Day?)

The next thing you know it will be Thanksgiving. Then there’s Black Friday, when people slough off their tryptophan lethargies and descend en mass to the stores to score huge savings on holiday gifts. Then, there’s Cyber Monday, when people go online to discover the holiday sales there.

For the past 6 years the next milestone in the forward march to the holidays has been #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday, however, is an about face from the post-Thanksgiving shopping sprees.

Giving Tuesday Logo

Instead of focusing on consumerism, #GivingTuesday’s emphasis is on helping others through the gifts of time, donations, goods, and skills. It is a global day of giving back.

Mainly fueled by social media, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is the day when charities, companies, institutions, and individuals will come together to encourage people to “commit an act of giving.” Whether that means participating in a food drive, making a special donation, or volunteering your time, #GivingTuesday is a day to celebrate our country’s great tradition of giving and to support the cause that matters most to you.

Fall FlowersWhen Henry Timms started Giving Tuesday in 2012, he hoped it would “make a difference and change the world.” As Executive Director of 92nd Street Y in New York, he said “The secret sauce of Giving Tuesday has been community.

For more information on the history of #GivingTuesday, see https://www.givingtuesday.org/

 

In the interest of “thinking globally and acting locally,” there’s no better way to observe #Giving Tuesday than to start right here in your own community.

This year, #GivingTuesday falls on November 28, 2017. We sincerely hope that you will participate in #GivingTuesday as a way to kick start your holiday and year end giving. It is something you can do as a family… a wonderful way to teach children that giving to others is often as rewarding as receiving. What a perfect lesson for the upcoming holiday season.

Please consider making the Power of Flowers Project part of your Giving Tuesday. Help us help others in the community, one flower at a time. Please go to our website to see the many ways you can help

From all of us here at the Power of Flowers, we wish you and your family a peaceful, happy Thanksgiving, a successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and a joy-filled #Giving Tuesday.Fall Arrangement