Creative Outreach in Port Colborne

by Lynda Reinhart

During these times of social distancing and isolation, creative connections are being made. St. James and St. Brendan Anglican Church (Port Colborne) launched a horticultural project for seniors in response to COVID-19. 

Along with their community partners, the Garden Club of Port Colborne and Meals on Wheels, with funding through the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors is bringing container gardens to the doors of seniors. Sandi Marr, from Wainfleet was hired to spearhead this innovative project under the leadership of the Mariners Park Committee. 

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Research shows that caring for plants encourages a sense of wellbeing. Gardening is a great way to develop creativity and confidence, as well as restore or maintain physical abilities. 

After a letter of introduction was sent out, each senior was called and invited to receive the gift of a plant. They were offered choices that fit with their lifestyle and interests including: a vegetable or herb planter, a colourful outdoor flower planter, or an indoor houseplant. 

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Sandi put together 117 creative planters and safely delivered them to the door of seniors along with a personalized note with care instructions and a small packet of fertilizer. 

The responses were overwhelming:

“Thank you very much for the lovely planter. I really appreciate what you are doing.” — Catharine

“I keep checking my calendar to see if it is really Christmas and not May! The herbs are all so wonderful and I will think of the kindness shown by the folks who thought of this wonderful gesture and enacted it. I look forward to using fresh herbs in my culinary creations.” — Linda

“Thank you for giving me new friends: parsley, rosemary and sage. They brighten my day especially when I’m spending more time alone and missing my friends. I don’t feel lonely because of my new friends” — Stuart

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This project will continue throughout the summer. Seniors will receive phone calls and notes in the mail of encouragement. This is one way to keep connected with seniors in our community and make sure their needs are being met. Their health and well-being are always a concern, but more so when times are unsettling and it feels like life is upside down. 

There are still many unknowns. In the meantime, it is nice to know the project is bringing a bit of enjoyment to the lives of the seniors in our community. We believe this small act of kindness will make their days go by a little faster. We were not able to garden in Mariners Park this summer however we were able to take the gift of green life and nature to seniors who are self-isolating at home.