German Village organizations spreading cheer
It was a beautiful morning, a time to get some fresh air, sunshine – and drop off some flowers to unsuspecting residents.
Village Connections and the German Village Garten Club collaborated on an initiative to deliver fresh flowers to 37 members who receive services through Connections, a concierge service for the area’s aging population.
On a brisk morning Sept. 21, volunteers were handing out the flora.
Donald Wiggins, executive director of Village Connections, and Jillian Davis, senior outreach coordinator through the AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America program for the nonprofit, brought mums to an unsuspecting Meg Teaford.
“It just brightened up my whole day,” Teaford said from the porch of her East Deshler Avenue house.
Some members of Village Connections have not felt so cheerful during the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Wiggins said.
Large crowd gatherings are prohibited by the state, leaving many people at home with no one to talk to or anything to do, he said.
“It’s been tough,” he said. “The members are definitely feeling isolated.”
Village Connections has rolled out a walking club every Monday and a new program, #WednesdaysWithUs, where up to five members are invited to spend time on somebody’s porch and socialize for about 90 minutes once a week, Wiggins said.
“It makes a difference to see people in person,” Davis said.
Because of the pandemic, the nonprofit organization has had to cancel monthly lunches, brunches and social hours, he said.
“We are having to evaluate daily and weekly how we move,” Wiggins said. “Things keep changing and they are our priority.”
Jim Chakeres, president of the Garten Club, said the organization’s executive committee was looking for way to get involved and give back to the community.
Many members of Village Connection are or were also members of the Garten Club.
“We just thought it would be a great partnership,” Chakeres said.
“We said, ‘We have access to flowers. Let’s make this happen.’ ”