Generous Gold Coast florist spreads holiday cheer to seniors who feel lonely – CBS Chicago


CHICAGO (CBS) – Loneliness, isolation, depression; you’ve probably felt at least one at some point during the pandemic. Some of these struggles linger in nursing homes, so a local business is brightening up those most vulnerable this holiday season.

Morning Insider Tim McNicholas takes us on a heartwarming ride.

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“I can’t wait to finally get them out of my house,” said Justin Stankiewicz, who delivers more than just flowers.

In boxes, he packs passion, generosity. and above all his hard work.

McNicolas: “How are you feeling right now? “

Stankiewicz: “Tiredness.”

Stankiewicz spent 24 hours making 50 bouquets in his Gold Coast apartment, where he founded a flower business, Astor Flowers & Gifts, during the pandemic.

“It’s good to see them come, it’s good to see them go,” he said.

But he will not cash his last delivery; these are donations for a local retirement home.

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It’s all part of a program he started last year, at the start of his new business, to give free flowers to seniors who are feeling lonely.

“We ran this campaign. Angel arrangement, where people could donate and sponsor a bouquet, ”Stankiewicz said.

Nursing homes are re-allowing some visitors, but with a population so vulnerable, Stankiewicz knows life is still far from mainstream this holiday season.

The angels of the arrangement are therefore back.

“COVID is still here. Things haven’t changed much. There are probably still a lot of people who won’t be seeing their families this year, ”Stankiewicz said.

All of her hard work paid off at Sunrise Living of Lincoln Park, where residents like Jeanne Baert, 96, came down to lunch to find an early holiday gift.

“It’s been a tough few years, and especially as they get older it’s tough on them,” said Activity and Volunteer Coordinator Cece Anderson. “It means a lot, because it lights up their room, it makes them smile.”

Astor plans to donate to five more senior residences by the end of the year; spread holiday cheer at every stop.

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Donations can still be made online before Christmas.

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