Anonymous donor, local florist team up to surprise West Woods residents

Published 9:02 am Thursday, March 26, 2020

NILES — Tuesday afternoon, a video from The Flower Cart, a florist in Niles, went up on Facebook showing flower arrangements being dropped off at West Woods of Niles to help brighten the residents’ days.

The arrangements were a combined effort between an anonymous donor and The Flower Cart of Niles.

Phil Hurlbutt, owner of The Flower Cart, was shown delivering the 70 arrangements to the door of West Woods yesterday afternoon.

“This young lady had come in earlier last week and wanted to do something for West Woods and the residents there,” Hurlbutt said. “She said, ‘this is what I have moneywise. I really want to get whatever I can get to make them happy.’”

Hurlbutt said the donor wrote a check, and he told her that he would team up with her to match it.

West Woods of Niles, a senior living center, has not been accepting visitors to residents since March 14, as the threat of the coronavirus outbreak is greater to those with pre-existing health concerns and older populations.

“It was very emotional for her and very emotional for me,” Hurlbutt said. “The people that are in there, they can’t see their loved ones. If I can bring a smile to their face and take something off of their mind for a while — how blessed I was to have that customer.”

The arrangements from The Flower Cart were all arranged in vases and contained flowers like micro-daisies, monte casinos and cushion mums in a variety of colors. Every arrangement was a little bit unique from the others. The intention was to bring some spring color and life to the bouquets.

After the drop-off delivery at the facility, it was Kara Hunsberger, activities director at West Woods of Niles, who delivered the arrangements to each room.

“They were so happy, and a lot of people asked where they came from,” Hunsberger said. “They were so thankful and smiling. It’s just nice to see their arrangements, and them telling us where they wanted them so they could see them.”

Each resident room received a flower arrangement from the delivery.

Hunsberger said deliveries like this are not common, though there have been more cards lately. The residents have been using Skype and Facetime to stay in touch with their loved ones while in-person visiting is unavailable.

“I have a box here that this lady’s grandchildren made,” she said. “They made over 100 cards and put their own thoughts into them. The flowers were something new.”

Hurlbutt said that, while The Flower Cart’s storefront is currently closed, he is hard at work to get orders out for pickup. He added his staff is taking precautions.

“We can take a picture of what’s in the [flower] cooler and text you,” he said. “We can wrap it up and put it on your account or credit card. We are happy to run it out. Everything is double bagged. We’re handling everything with gloves, wrap it in tissue and put it in a bag. We are trying to do our part of keeping it safe.”

Hurlbutt said that displays on the business’ website may not all be available, as sourcing flowers has begun to become a bit more challenging as other deliveries take precedence.

The cheerful delivery of flowers on Tuesday brought a pop of color and bit of spring to residents and workers at West Woods.

The Flower Cart and anonymous donor were happy to have been able to brighten their day, they said.