Flowers for the elderly and caregivers

Today, elderly and caregivers from the Menno Simonszhuis in Amsterdam Buitenveldert got cheered up with pallets full of colorful flowers. This grand ‘floweraction’ is initiated by friends Loes Hofstee and Eva Cornelissen, in corporation with Serve the City, foundation Present, Burennetwerk and flower grower cooperative Decorum. The goal is to support vulnerable elders, caregivers and the flower industry. Loes: ‘With a colorful bouquet we surprise the Amsterdammers who need it most, support the flower industry and safe many tulips, daffodils and chrysanthemums from the shredder.’

Five euros. That’s how much a radiant bouquet of tulips and hyacinths costs. Through an online action the bouquets can be bought and donated; a accessible contribution in the battle against loneliness. Hundreds of flowers were already purchased via social media last week. Today Loes brings the first load to the elderly and carers of the housing corporation Woonzorg in Buitenveldert. ‘Last week we launched the promotion and promoted it through our own Social Media pages and in community groups,’ says Loes proudy. ‘Today we can hand out the first 200 bouquets, fantastic!’

Loes and Eva hope for two things; cheer up as many people as possible with flowers in collaboration with as many growers as possible. That’s why they work together with Decorum, a grower cooperative of approximately 55 growers. ‘All those growers put together a bouquet,’ says Loes, ‘so this cooperation ensures that we help multiple growers instead of just one party.’ And that is urgently needed, confirms the Naaldwijk grower who delivers the bouquets. ‘Normally there are about 100,000 people a day in my area during this period, but now the fields are deserted,’ he sighs. ‘It’s looks like a big flower graveyard.’

His large truck squeezes dangerously close to the parked cars at the parking lot of the Menno Simonszhuis, but he is welcomed with open arms by Juli Edwards (activities coordinator in the Menno Simonszhuis). Before the corona crisis, she was responsible for organizing daytime activities; a place where vulnerable local residents came to spend time together. Now that she can no longer organize anything, Juli is worried about the isolation in the neighborhood and is therefore very happy with the flower campaign. ‘We try to contact as many people in the neighborhood as possible, we made a handout booklet and recently someone even played music in front of people’s windows,’ she says. ‘You do what you can.’

The colorful bouquets are a boost for the elderly. One lady is so enthusiastic that she mistakes a tulip bud for candy. Fortunately, her caregiver can prevent her from putting a purple petal in her mouth. The personnel is also touched by the flower action. July recently received a tube of hand cream from her boss, a very small gesture, but she was very happy with it. ‘Just like with these beautiful flowers,’ she laughs, ‘it’s so nice when people think of you in these times. And then the tulip is also my favorite flower, cliché right?’

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