Nyren Mo, Western Journalism Studio
Feb 4, 2022
Natasha Sumner has been sending flowers to dozens of older people in London for nearly a year.
And she’s not alone.
The owner of Forget Me Not flowers at Covent Garden Market in the city’s downtown has the help of customers, who’ve been contributing cash donations Sumner has been using to send flowers to the Waverly Retirement Residence during the pandemic.
“The Adopt-A-Senior program was inspired by the pandemic when seniors were being isolated and not able to have visitors,”Sumner said.
Customers can donate $10, $20 or $30, and the shop will prepare and arrange flowers to send to seniors. With Valentine’s Day approaching, Sumner said she hoped to see more donations.
“We’ve had such an amazing response from customers… because they often relate to one of their family members,” said Sumner pointing at the board of notes from customers and thank-you cards from seniors.
Sumner estimated the customer donation has exceeded $2,000. All the money went toward sending flowers to decorate common areas, dining rooms and seniors’ rooms at the retirement residence.
“When we began this program, they were just ecstatic. It truly has lifted their spirits,” said Sumner recalling how older people reacted to the kindness.
Forget Me Not has been in the same London location for over a century, since when what is now the market floor was still a dirty parking lot, Sumner said. She still has flower buckets from the Sheriff family, the first owner of the shop.
“I treasure them because it’s a bit of history,” said Sumner.
Sumner organized outdoor workshops where seniors participated, arranging flowers when the weather was warm. During the lockdown, she brought arranged flowers and staff at the retirement residence would distribute them to older people.
“If that’s all we can do, then that’s what we’ll continue to do as long as the donations are coming in.”