These past couple of years have ushered in a new era in which enlivening and inspiriting have proven critical in battling loneliness and isolation, and that’s just where our “Flower Power” comes to the rescue. In this Winter/Spring 2022 edition of News in Bloom, we are pleased to share how through the healing power of upcycled flowers, we connect communities, especially those who are most vulnerable in such an isolating climate.
BloomAgainBklyn team at Plymouth Church. Simbarashe Cha for The New York Times
This fall, BloomAgainBklyn was so fortunate to be back to our old home base at the historic Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights. Even, and perhaps especially in the current climate, Plymouth Church is at the forefront of racial justice and human rights movements and remains very active and dedicated to its continued mission programs and community care initiatives. Our invaluable partnership with Plymouth Church enables BloomAgain to spread the healing and joy of upcycled flowers to many of the Church’s mission partners.
We were also thrilled to host a floral workshop with the Plymouth Church congregation. The lovely arrangements were donated to the Brooklyn Heights Community Fridge and the frontliners at the NYU Langone ER.
Plymouth Church will be the site again for BloomAgain's Spring Fling Gala on May 18.
BloomAgain is very pleased to announce a new community partnership with AHRC NewYork City, an organization dedicated to serving and supporting people with varying disabilities. For Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, AHRC NYC held a Day of Service distributing meals to the community…and what goes better with food than flowers? BloomAgain contributed floral arrangements and silk flower crowns to accompany the meal distribution. BloomAgain will also provide fresh stems for bouquet making workshops at AHRC NYC’s sites, as well as petals and blooms for flower pressing projects, all of which will be distributed to our community partners.
Bedstuy Restoration Wellness Wednesdays
The partnership between BloomAgain and Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (BSRC), a community development corporation based in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, has been a most fruitful—ahem, flowerful—one! This fall, BSRC connected us to former NYC Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr.’s weekly Wellness Wednesdays food donation tables for the community. 90 percent of those lining up for groceries were seniors facing food insecurity, so BloomAgain was very pleased to be able to add our flowers to distribute with the food to brighten up these folks’ days.
BloomAgain provided hundreds of hand tied bouquets and stems for BSRC’s annual RestorationROCKS! neighborhood block party celebrating the community, arts, culture, and entertainment. Speaking of the neighborhood, BloomAgain prepped an entire carload (and not a small car, mind you) of buckets of flowers for the Quincy Senior Residence Mental Health/Wellness Event. The Quincy Street residence is home to approximately 92 senior residents who were all invited to join the flower arranging workshop as a therapeutic activity to break the isolation and bring the community together for something colorful and creative.
Workshop at YWCA Brooklyn
Wedding and event workshops are held at longtime community partner, the YWCA Brooklyn, who for over 130 years, has supported former trauma survivors and homeless providing safe permanent homes for its residents and programs to educate, develop, and advocate on their behalf. BloomAgainBklyn couldn’t be prouder to support this amazing organization.
Grow NYC's Urban Teaching Garden, Governors Island
Starting this spring, BloomAgain will be back to harvesting wildflowers on Governors Island at our wonderful partner, GrowNYC’s Urban Teaching Garden, where we are literally making roots. We spent one last glorious day in November out on the Island planting and weeding in preparation for our return for the grow season, and as a thank you to GrowNYC for being such a sublime partner.
Stocking the Brooklyn Heights Community Fridge, sponsored by First Presbyterian Church
The doors at the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, one of BloomAgain’s newest community partners, are always open to all and the weekly Thursday food pantry menu now offers beautiful flowers and plants. Upcycled blooms were also available at the Brooklyn Heights Community Fridge, sponsored by First Presbyterian, along with nourishing food donated by the Brooklyn Heights community.
Hand-tied bouquets from Brooklyn Heights Community Fridge
Despite two years of challenging times, BloomAgain's weekly flowers have kept spirits high for the residents and staff at Cobble Hill Health Center. This wonderful partnership, now into its sixth year, continues to flourish and brings great joy and healing to this vital institution.
Cobble Hill Health Center staff & resident
BloomAgain provided longtime partner Heights and Hills with beautiful bouquets for Caregiver Appreciation Month back in November. This was extra special because members from the New York Junior League, an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, delivered the bouquets directly to the caregivers. At Thanksgiving time, over 200 Heights and Hills homebound older adults enjoyed their turkey dinners with hand-tied bouquets of flowers thanks to BloomAgain.
BloomAgain was able to bring a little cheer to our community partner RAICES, which provides services, educates, and organizes the Latino, minority, and low-income aging community in Brooklyn. As the world went on pause, BloomAgain donated hand-tied bouquets to RAICES which distributed them to their satellite locations providing a little floral uplift to their community.
We are grateful to Christ Church Cobble Hill for inviting BloomAgain to use their wonderful indoor community room and outdoor courtyard in Cobble Hill. Christ Church provides an uplifting community space for diverse neighborhood groups which come together to create a more transformative environment of sustainability and learning. BloomAgain is fortunate to rotate its regular flower arranging sessions between Christ Church and Plymouth Church.
BloomAgain partnered with Women for Afghan Women (WAW) on an initiative to welcome Afghan refugees to America. WAW provides starter care packages for refugees just making a new beginning in an all-new country and BloomAgain was honored to provide bouquets to add a warm welcome for these brave women. Speaking of the brave, for Veterans Day this year, BloomAgain was privileged to provide hundreds of hand tied flowers to Black Vets for Social Justice Inc. in honor of their service.
Bloom Always brings together children, neighbors, families and older adults as an intergenerational community creating artistry in silk flowers for our partner organizations serving vulnerable populations.
Bloom Always is working on a series of virtual workshops with the Brooklyn Public Library, AHRC NYC, Title I Public Schools, and Plymouth Church, among others. These participants will Bloom Always in 2022 by making silk flower bouquets, creating cards with silks, and designing silk floral jewelry using our BloomAgain signature video tutorials on crafting with silks by core BloomAgain member and floral designer expert, Lisa Oberholzer-Gee. Bloom Always’ silks are the art of bringing people together.
Please feel free to tune in yourself for a sample of silk skills: BloomAgainBKLYN Silk Flower Wearables
CSR workshop at Credit Suisse
BloomAgain was exhilarated to be able to hold a corporate social responsibility workshop once again with longtime partner New York Cares at our most established corporate partner, Credit Suisse. As always, the Credit Suisse team were stunning at making floral arrangements, all of which were then delivered to the Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center, a non-profit multi-service organization located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan focused on the needs of children and low-income families, out-of-school and out-of-work youth, and aging New Yorkers including their isolated and homebound elderly neighbors.
EleVen by Venus Williams workshop
BloomAgain and EleVen by Venus Williams were quite a set! We held court at Christ Church where Williams’ team members participated in a workshop and were taught how to serve up floral arrangements—needless to say, they were aces—to show love for our receiving community partner, Kings County Tennis League (KCTL). KCTL uses tennis and off-court educational activities as instruments for youth development for children living in and around Brooklyn public housing. It was a great workshop, no matter how you slice or spin it…truly a perfect match!
BloomAgain partnered with St. Ann’s & the Holy Trinity Church for a Day of Service for children aged 5 to 12 years old, teaching them what it means to give back to their community and be Agents of Change. The kids worked with fresh flowers making arrangements and decorating cards and then were delighted to present them directly to community heroes—the firefighters at the local Hook and Ladder 118 fire station. The rest of the arrangements and cards went to the veterans at Cobble Hill Health Center.
BloomAgain has a history of honoring teachers, but in this climate, commemorating them has unfortunately become just a crucial. PS 307, a magnet school for STEM studies—whom we sent a crop of bouquets for teacher, staff, and administration appreciation in spring 2021—held a memorial for a beloved educator and friend this winter, and BloomAgain was privileged to send flowers for the tribute and all the attendees.
PRESS | In the News & On TV!
BloomAgain x New York Cares: These are The Times That Matter
The New York Times article on how volunteerism can be “An Overlooked Cure for Loneliness” cited studies that demonstrate how “something as simple as volunteering can improve one’s health ease feelings of loneliness and broaden social networks.” The Times story featured New York Cares and its partner BloomAgainBklyn as just one example where volunteers came together during the pandemic to socially connect and—just as we teach in our Agents of Change program for children—engage in giving back to their communities using the beauty and healing power of upcycled flowers.
Japan TV Series Featured BloomAgain, Again
BloomAgain went to Japan again, well at least our message and mission. NHK, the premiere Japanese broadcasting corporation, featured BloomAgain in one of its NYC lifestyle segments on NHK’s world news TV program “Catch! World Top News.”
(You can view the video on our site!)
BloomAgain has received many generous donations from numerous wedding and floral partners including Winston Flowers; Piropo Flowers; Stems Brooklyn; Popup Florist; Wild Flower Designs; BloomBar; Rock Paper Scissors Events; Lindsay Landman Events; Ron Hansford Design; David Stark Design; Tessler Events; Hessney & Co.; Dumbo Flowers; Carrie Sartor Events; Jenna Lam Events; CoLaboratory; Bureau Betak; Sun-NY Side Up; and Lewis Miller Design, among others. BloomAgain couldn’t be more grateful to be floating in flowers thanks to their flourishing partnership. And thanks to Amazon and Netflix for sharing their event flowers from the movie opening parties for “Being the Ricardos” and “Single All the Way.”
If you are getting married or having a corporate event and have flowers you’d like to donate, please click here.
BloomAgainBklyn Pivots to Serve Vulnerable Populations During COVID-19
BloomAgainBklyn made significant adjustments to ensure that we could deliver on our mission to break the isolation of those at risk. We worked hard and safely to do this. During the pandemic lock-down, BloomAgain has hosted Zoom sessions several times a week for its volunteers who came up with new initiatives to reach our community partners. To replace our flower visits, the volunteers produced floral photography cards, hand-made masks, “hero bites” from Mrs. Fields Cookies, video greeting card produced by PS29 third graders, and musical tributes over Zoom -- all to support and say thank you to the front liners and our community partners.
Harvesting Wildflowers on Governors Island
at GrowNYC’s Teaching Garden
Under the shadow of Wall Street, BloomAgainBklyn volunteers began harvesting wildflowers in early June from the GrowNYC Teaching Garden on Governors Island. These fields of beautiful wildflowers were going to waste because COVID-19 had shut down the garden from the public. Thanks to an exceptional collaboration between GrowNYC and BloomAgain, these stunning wildflowers were transformed into beautiful arrangements for homebound seniors, frontline staff and residents at health centers and their residents.
The new partnership with GrowNYC, the largest environmental organization in New York City, is part of BloomAgain’s continuing efforts to discover new ways to fulfill our mission to break the isolation of at-risk populations.This wonderful collaboration was highlighted in this New York Daily News profile story.
PS29 Third-Graders Express Warm Wishes in Video Card
Unable to return to the class room at PS29 because of COVID-19, BloomAgain renewed its wonderful partnership with the third graders from Ms. Manna’s class to create an inspiring video card that was played for all the residents at Cobble Hill Health Center in June. The video brought great joy and uplifted the spirits of these residents who had been isolated and unable to see their relatives for over three months.
Community Blooms for Cobble Hill Health Center
BloomAgainBklyn brought together diverse community groups to cheer, celebrate, and honor the front liners and residents at Cobble Hill Health Center (CHHC) in early June. When the pandemic began in March, CHHC struggled with the ravages of COVID-19. BloomAgain organized the “Community Blooms” event to uplift and humanize their experiences and donated over 400 hand-tied bouquets and arrangements.
Donny Tuchman, CEO of CHHC, and many staff members were greeted with a barrage of flowers and cheering from community members including neighborhood children holding handmade signs. Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon and State Senator Brian Kavanaugh joined in the cheer!
Money Trees Grow In Brooklyn
In early August, BloomAgain distributed 600 “Money Trees” (Guiana Chestnut plants) to the former trauma and homeless survivors at the YWCA Brooklyn; recipients at Sisters with Purpose Food Pantry; and front liners and residents at Cobble Hill Health Center. This was made possible by the generosity of Golub Capital which had been introduced to BloomAgain by GrowNYC’s Green Space Program – another example of the wonderful collaboration between the two organizations.
BloomAgainBklyn Hosts Virtual Workshop
on GrowNYC Distance Learning Site
Volunteers from BloomAgainBklyn joined GrowNYC to host a virtual workshop on how to create fun floral arrangements with fall leaves which was broadcasted to hundreds of GrowNYC families on their Distance Learning website.
BloomAgainBklyn volunteer Lisa Oberholzer-Gee hosted the interactive workshop and demonstrated how to use leaves and other natural elements to make beautiful fall creations including vases, wreaths, and floral arrangements. Lisa is an NYC-based floral designer and owner of her own flower business.
Watch the full workshop on GrowNYC's Distance Learning site by clicking the link: https://youtu.be/PFg3gegzczY
Credit Suisse Virtual Workshop
BloomAgainBklyn, New York Cares and Credit Suisse have had a longstanding relationship through a series of team building, flower workshops held at Credit Suisse offices. These “give-back to the community” workshops took place every other month before the pandemic struck. This September, BloomAgain launched its first-ever, virtual Credit Suisse workshop with the distribution of flower kits—including wildflowers harvested from GrowNYC’s Teaching Garden on Governors Island, shears, vases, bouquet wraps and other materials -- to employee volunteers throughout Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. We then hosted a Zoom session led by two BloomAgain volunteers and floral designers, Elaine Diaz and Lisa Oberholzer-Gee, who provided the Credit Suisse employees with a tutorial on flower arranging showing them how to create wonderful arrangements and hand-tied bouquets. The arrangements made at the virtual workshop were then distributed the following day to front liners and residents at our community partner Cobble Hill Health Care, and to homebound seniors served by Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly.
“Give Back to Brooklyn”
Kicking off the fall season, BloomAgainBklyn hosted a “Give Back to Brooklyn” event for young families in Cobble Hill Park to show their support for those hardest hit by COVID-19. Spearheaded by Board Member Rachel Jones Bellas, the fun-filled morning was spent crafting flower arrangements, decorating mini pumpkins and making colorful cards that were distributed to homebound seniors served by Heights and Hills, residents in East New York served by Sisters with Purpose Food Pantry and residents and front liners at Cobble Hill Health Center.
Pumpkins and Pumpkins
In addition to flower arrangements, BloomAgain continued to spread the spirit of fall and Halloween by decorating mini pumpkins with flower stickers. BloomAgain volunteers decorated over 200 mini pumpkins with hundreds of flower stickers, which all went to the residents at Cobble Hill Health Center. It was such a popular addition, BloomAgain continued on with the mini pumpkin production sending hundreds more to Heights and Hills, Little Brothers, and Sisters with Purpose. Cobble Hill Health Center also received a bulk donation of pumpkins from DIG Food Group right in time for Halloween.
Designer Masks for Front Liners
DesignStudio7 has partnered with BloomAgainBklyn to the launch a series of limited edition, Liberty of London masks with 20% of the sales proceeds for each mask going to support BloomAgainBklyn. The Liberty London’s icon vibrant Persephone print reflects the colorful bouquets BloomAgainBklyn makes and distributes to senior health care centers, homebound seniors, trauma and homeless survivors, and others in need throughout Brooklyn.
Each mask sells for $25.00 and can be ordered on the DesignSeven7 website. DS7 masks are handcrafted in Brooklyn, New York.