First Local Toledo set to kick off 4th annual Sunflowers for Seniors campaign
By Chris Galford
Too often, age is equated with irrelevance. As time steals away the bright lives of members of our community, those lives are left to fade from thought and memory. First Local Toledo is looking to change that and remind area seniors that the community still remembers them, still respects them, and still cares for them.
The means to that end in this case is the fourth annual Sunflowers for Seniors campaign — an event organized by First Local Toledo director Patrick Abec that positions children, flowers and seniors together under one roof.
“We started this four years ago with the idea to have teams of two to three adults and three to four children go to area retirement communities and have the children present a bouquet of sunflowers to each senior. It’s been fun to watch the reaction of the children and the seniors just talking with each other. The kids start sharing about what they are doing this summer and the seniors share a little about themselves; it’s just a lot of fun for everybody,” Patrick said.
In the past, the campaign has incorporated five or six senior communities, with nearly 500 bouquets handed out on average each year. Yet this year, the members of First Local Toledo have an even more ambitious aim: seeking to provide over 2,000 bouquets and get teams out to anywhere between 20 and 25 different senior communities.
“In order to distribute this many bouquets, we are asking the community for help, and specifically that if people would like to put together a team, the members of First Local Toledo will provide all the sunflowers,” Patrick said.
“It’s a nice bouquet, comes in a glass vase, water, everything’s ready to go, with five or six sunflowers to a vase. We’ll provide all that. What we need help with is to have teams of people that would be willing to go out to a senior community and help with distribution,” added Patrick.
Whether teams have a specific community in mind or would like First Local Toledo to schedule an event for them is their decision. The campaign will start July 18 and runs through August 29 — a six week window for community outreach.
“It’s just a great way to serve and to tell the seniors in the community they’re not forgotten, and that we care about them. I think it’s an important for children to serve our senior community as well, and reach out to them,” Patrick said.
Picture caption: First Local Toledo is looking for volunteers to help distribute 2,000 bouquets of sunflowers to area seniors.