Blessings bloom in new CCCDD program


Volunteers and Cullman County Center for the Developmentally Disabled (CCCDD) clients pose for a photo at this week’s “Blessing Blooms” work session. In the program, event bouquets and other floral arrangements are recycled, creating new bouquets to deliver to nursing homes. The program was started in conjunction with Designs by Grace. (Heather Mann for The Tribune)

CULLMAN – Flowers can brighten up any room or event, but what happens to those beautiful arrangements once the event's over? Normally they're thrown away, but the Cullman County Center for the Developmentally Disabled (CCCDD) has been working on a program to recycle bouquets and other floral arrangements by creating new bouquets and delivering them to nursing homes. Known as "Blessing Blooms," this program held its first session in April and has created and delivered more than 300 arrangements since.

Debra Hatley and her cousin Paula Jones (from Designs by Grace) spearheaded the program after Jones started noticing all the event flowers being discarded after events, even if the flowers themselves were still good. Jones currently helps coordinate donations of flowers that can be recycled, while Hatley works with volunteers and CCCDD clients at the Margaret Jean Jones Center to turn the flowers into new arrangements and deliver them.

The volunteers and clients are given various tasks like filling jars with water, taking donated arrangements apart, organizing the good flowers and greenery on the tables while throwing away the wilted ones, assembling the new bouquets in the jars, making cards that are attached to each bouquet, and delivering (or helping to deliver) the arrangements to specified locations.

Hatley said volunteers are always needed.

"We haven't been doing this very long, but after today we'll have delivered about 300 of these bouquets, so we've been pretty busy," she said. "We're making our clients happy, we're making the folks in the nursing homes happy, and we'd just like as much help as we can get."

Currently the CCCDD is asking for volunteers who are at least 16 years old, and volunteers 18 or older don't need to have an adult with them. However, volunteers who would like to deliver flowers with their personal vehicles should be at least 21; volunteers younger than 21 can only ride along with someone else to help with the delivery.

Blessing Blooms currently delivers to care facilities around Cullman like Westminster Assisted Living and Woodland Village. If you would like your facility to be added to the delivery list, or if you have flowers or floral arrangements you'd like to donate, call 256-385-0521. For more information about upcoming work sessions, call 256-734-3253.

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