Two older adults in the Upshur County area receive brightly colored bouquets, thanks to Buckhannon resident Laura Foulks's efforts. Foulks has set up a GoFundMe account asking for help to bring some sunshine into older adults’ days. Foulks plans to send a bouquet of flowers from Anita’s Flower Shop to Buckhannon Nursing Home residents for Easter in hopes of spreading joy during the pandemic when residents are unable to visit with family and friends. / Submitted photos

The simple power of flowers: Local woman hopes to brighten Easter for older adults with seasonal bouquets

BUCKHANNON – Inspired by memories of her grandmother, Mabel Hughes, Buckhannon resident Laura Foulks has set up a GoFundMe to help achieve her goal of delivering fresh flowers to the residents of Upshur County’s nursing homes, hospice patients, and older adults who receive services through the Upshur County Senior Center, Meals on Wheels and hospice patients.

“The idea for this project came one day while I was sitting in my apartment,” Foulks said. “I started thinking about my grandmother. She had passed away and prior to that, we had her in a nursing home in Pennsylvania. I was thinking it would have been awful for her to not have family allowed to come in and visit and how sad that would have made her.”

She said her grandma was the rock of her family.

Bobbi Halterman with the Upshur County Senior Center and Laura Foulks getting ready to deliver bouquets. / Photo courtesy Laura Foulks

“I looked up to her a lot and anytime I did not feel good, I would call Grandma,” she said. “Now that she is no longer here, I think about her. My grandmother loved flowers, and she had them in her garden. She grew zinnias and all kinds of flowers. In my childhood, I remember picking flowers from her garden.”

Foulks said she would send her grandmother flowers to brighten her day.

“So, I began thinking, I ought to do something for folks around here in nursing homes,” she said. “I began calling around and got the okay to send them flowers. I asked my friends, and they pitched in money to help me do this last year.”

Since Foulks lives above Anita’s Flower Shop, she decided to enlist their help in filling the orders. They thought it was a great idea and put together the bouquets.

“In 2020, I delivered flowers to St. Joseph’s nursing wing, Holbrook Nursing Home, Serenity Care and Buckhannon Manor,” she said. “I posted it on Facebook, and people were giving me ideas, and so then I contacted hospice and sent them flowers. When I contacted the Upshur County Senior Center, I sent everyone who received Meals on Wheels flowers.”

Foulks said her hope is to brighten the days for seniors who have been alone due to visitation restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is extremely hard on our elderly during this pandemic to be alone and without family members being able to visit as they once used to,” Foulks said told My Buckhannon. “I want to continue bringing love into their lives with the power of flowers.”

Foulks said in at the start of summer in 2020, she was able to deliver beautifully arranged bouquets with the help of Anita’s Flower Shop of Buckhannon to hundreds of folks in the community.

“It brought smiles to their faces and warmed their hearts,” Foulks wrote in the narrative of her WV Flowers for Upshur County Elders GoFundMe.
“Showing them that their community is thinking about them and cares in such a way is so meaningful and important to the quality of their lives.”

Now, as the Easter holiday approaches, Foulks is asking for additional support for her efforts to help older adults know their fellow community members care about them and are willing to brighten the days for those in nursing homes, in hospice care or those who are mostly staying at home due to the pandemic.

“Now that Easter is coming up, I thought it would be a good time to send out flowers to patients in nursing homes – which equals about 160 patients,” Foulks said. “I talked to Anita’s Flower Shop, and they are looking for some locals who grow tulips to make the arrangements for this Easter. I will go pick them up and deliver them to the nursing homes. I do not go into the nursing homes. I meet them outside and they take the bouquets in and deliver them to the residents.”

“Everybody tells me how happy this makes the seniors,” she added. “I know it would have made my grandmother happier. It has been an entire year and those in nursing homes still are not allowed to have visitors.”

Foulks said following the Easter holiday, she hopes to continue to be able to send flowers to seniors in nursing homes and those who are homebound.

Laura Foulks on a flower-powered mission. / Submitted photo

“Right now, I am focusing on Easter,” she said. “I hope people will be able to help me make this dream a reality and bring cheer to the seniors in our area.”

People wanting to assist with Foulks’s effort can donate to her GoFundMe WV Flowers for Upshur County Elders. Foulks’ fundraising has raised $250 toward her $1,000 goal.

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