BloomAgainBklyn, a nonprofit, is turning used florals into a way to inspire joy for people in institutional care. 

In and around New York City, life has been less than rosy for residents in long-term care and shelters. Be it the threat of the virus itself or restrictive safety measures that kept them from seeing loved ones, plenty of seniors, the homeless population and others continue to suffer COVID-19’s impact. 

For BloomAgainBklyn owner Caroline Gates Anderson, whose background is in the visual arts, the project was a combination of her love of creating floral arrangements and her environmental concerns. Repurposing used and surplus flowers, Gates Anderson created new floral arrangements for individuals in long-term care. 

“It is really about creating a community of shared experiences,” she said. “We make new arrangements for those in our community who are most at risk, most isolated.”

She founded her nonprofit, which recently was named on Crain’s Business’ Notables in Nonprofits list, in 2014 and has since repurposed roughly 1.3 million flowers. The group works with community groups, volunteers and caregivers to give relief to those in need. That includes homebound seniors, residents of community care centers, and survivors of trauma and homelessness. 

“Flowers are very therapeutic — and the conversation, and the interactions of the community that is built on flowers — especially in times of social isolation that we’ve been experiencing,” Gates Anderson said. 

She said they also work with low-income students in Brooklyn and recently visited Bushwick, delivering arrangements to Buena Vida Continuing Care. Phoeona Dejonge, director of recreation at Buena Vida, echoed Gates Anderson. 

“We had them bring in flowers, and the residents were very happy with them. There were some who became very emotional, and it came during one of our monthly birthday parties,” Dejonge said. “It shows them that somebody still cares about them, and getting flowers brightens up anybody’s day.”

Top image courtesy of BloomAgainBklyn.

For more news, sign up for Bushwick Daily’s newsletter.

Join the fight to save local journalism by becoming a paid subscriber.