Excess flowers will be used to give seniors. (Patty Bennett)
SIERRA MADRE, Calif. — Today, like for the past 17 years, unused flowers left over from the construction of Rose Parade floats will be used to deliver thousands of bright arrangements and the message of Jesus’ love to senior care centers, thanks to a church ministry.
The Rose Parade Flower Ministry delivered about 100,000 flowers to more than 160 rest homes from Burbank to La Verne in 2009. Nearly 300 volunteers went to senior care homes and hospitals in 22 cities of the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles County.
The process of collecting and delivering the flowers starts every year on New Year's Eve, after the floats are fully gowned in flowers and moved to the parade route, said ministry leader Keith Jesson. Hundreds of buckets, many filled with the 5 percent to 10 percent of the extra flowers ordered for the event, are left by companies such as Phoenix Decorating. The ministry has an agreement with the decorating company— which helps construct about half the floats—that enables them to take the flowers.
Volunteers come not only from Lake Avenue Church in Glendale, Calif., but from the surrounding area as well, Jesson said.
“A lot of residents we visit say, ‘You’re the only person who has come to see me over the holidays,'” Jesson said. “We touch a tremendous need in the lives of these people just by bringing the flowers, chatting with them, sharing the love of Christ and asking if we can say a prayer for them. We get an overwhelming response from the individuals who have seen the parade on TV and are so thrilled to be able to touch and smell the flowers.”
Full story written by Alex Murashko originally published in the Christian Examiner (not associated with Examiner.com).