CHICAGO (CBS) — Loneliness, isolation, depression; you probably felt at least one of those at some point during the pandemic. Some of those struggles still linger in nursing homes, so a local business is brightening up those most vulnerable this holiday season.
Morning Insider Tim McNicholas takes us along for a heartwarming ride.READ MORE: Chicago Has 'Formally Passed The Omicron Peak' As New COVID-19 Infections Decline, Hospitalizations Level Off, Top Doc Says
“I can’t wait to finally get these out of my house,” said Justin Stankiewicz, who delivers more than just flowers.
In cardboard boxes, he packs passion, generosity. and—most of all—his hard work.
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Stankiewicz spent 24 hours preparing 50 bouquets in his Gold Coast apartment—where he founded a flower company, Astor Flowers & Gifts, during the pandemic.
“It’s good to see ‘em come, good to see ‘em go,” he said.
But he won’t cash in on his latest delivery; they’re donations for a local senior home.READ MORE: No Changes To Chicago Travel Advisory; Every State Remains On The List For 3rd Week In A Row
It’s all part of a program he launched last year—in the early days of his new business—to get free flowers to seniors feeling lonely.
“We ran this campaign. Arrangement Angel, where people could donate and sponsor a bouquet,” Stankiewicz said.
Nursing homes now allow some visitors once again, nut with such a vulnerable population, Stankiewicz knows life is still far from ordinary this holiday season.
So the Arrangement Angels are back.
“COVID is still here. Things have not changed very much. There are probably still a lot of people who are not gonna see their families this year,” Stankiewicz said.
All his hard work paid off at Sunrise Living of Lincoln Park, where residents like 96-year-old Jeanne Baert walked down for lunch to find an early holiday gift.
“It’s been a rough couple of years, and especially when they’re aging, its rough on them,” said activity & volunteer coordinator Cece Anderson. “It means a lot, because it brightens up their room, it makes them smile.”
Astor plans to donate to five other senior homes by the end of the year; spreading holiday cheer at each stop.MORE NEWS: 15-Year-Old Killed, Five Other Juveniles Wounded In Trio Of Shootings In Chicago On Tuesday
Donations can still be made online before Christmas.