Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mystery flower donation delights seniors

Holy Family Home gets Xmas surprise

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Floral deliveries are commonplace at Holy Family Home, a Ukrainian Catholic-run nursing home, so it was no surprise to receptionist Luba Micno when a delivery came on Christmas Eve.

"I told them to bring them in and I would give them out," said Micno. "But they said 'No, we're at the loading dock.' "

The two delivery men, who refused to name themselves, had brought a semi-trailer packed floor to ceiling with boxes of flowers, including eight packages of two dozen roses each, hundreds of carnations and mini-roses, and more than enough pre-made arrangements for each of the 276 residents.

Academy Florists estimated the cost of such a delivery to be between $7,000 and $14,000, depending on the type of arrangements.

"We asked who delivered them, but they just kept naming places the flowers were grown," said Micno.

Sister Darleane Pelachaty said the staff was so taken aback by the unexpected delivery no one thought to press any further.

"When they came, these guys were so generous and so friendly and in such a good spirit," she said. "They just shook their hand then said, "Merry Christmas" and left."

The flowers were given to residents, their families and staff.

"It really cheered everybody right up," said Katherine Skotnicki, a Holy Family Home resident.

"I had some delivered right to my room," she said leaning forward. Then she laughed and straightened up. "For me, I was wondering what was happening for us to get that many flowers."

Skotnicki said she's thankful for whomever was behind the generous delivery.

"I thought it was just great," she said, looking at one of the arrangements on the table in front of her and smiling. "It's really nice to see the flowers on every table. It seems like everyone was quite happy with them."

Mary Woloshyn, another resident at Holy Family Home, said the flowers are "a nice mystery."

"I was coming to the (Holy) Family Home from mass and I saw all these boxes," she said, her eyes growing wide. "We didn't know where they came from."

Woloshyn, who had just won a game of bingo, said she'd never seen anything like the Christmas Eve delivery.

"We were amazed that we had all of these nice flowers," she said as her smile pushed her red cheeks upward.

Even Holy Family Home CEO Jean Piché didn't expect to find a semi full of flowers when he returned to the home after Christmas mass.

"It came as a huge surprise to all of us," he said. "But at the same time it was a real blessing. I could just see the smiles on their faces, even those who have severe cases of dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Their faces lit up."

Once the flowers were delivered to residents and their families, Piché made sure the rest went to staff.

"It really gave us an opportunity to express gratitude to our staff," he said.

jordan.power@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 3, 2014 B3

History

Updated on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 9:13 AM CST: Corrects flower name.

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