By Flo Fuller
Community Integration Director
As part of our Community Integration Program, the Morgan Autism Center Adult Program has been receiving monthly
flower donations from United Wholesale Flowers for more than a year and a half.
We look forward to driving to the San Jose warehouse in our van to pick up the boxes of donated flowers.
During that time the clients enjoy walking around to see what new displays might be there, especially the holiday ones.
Manny, one of the staff there, is always happy to help us and get the flowers ready. Even on the busiest days, he greets us with a big smile and spends some time chatting with our group.
Once we come back to MAC, our clients get to work making beautiful bouquets, which they then deliver to different recipients in the community we have partnered with or who have offered their services. The recipients include paramedics, a nursing home, Guadalupe Park employees, Costco Bakery, San Jose State speech clinicians and Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT) and neighbors.
This year Development Associate Lisa Lemke thought it might be nice for a few people from our group to make the flower arrangements for our annual gala celebration and fundraiser Starry Starry Night. Manny was more than willing to meet with us and guide us through which flowers would be most suitable and easy to work with. We were lucky to have Aya Sasaki, an employee in the Adult Program, on our team as she was able to put her creative talent to work and help us pick out a color scheme for the arrangements.
Together with Lemke they created a mock arrangement, which we then used as a model for our group.
The day before our fundraiser, Sasaki organized everything and created different workstations. John, one of our adult clients, was enthusiastic about filling up buckets of water while Angel and Jeff were quick to open boxes and throw away all the trash; Andrew was precise in measuring and placing the marbles/glass beads at the bottom of each vase; Boris was thorough in putting just enough water in the completed vases and putting them in a box for transport; Wanda and Christie created many beautiful arrangements; Tish and Julian helped take out all the dead leaves off the stems; and Scott grabbed flowers out of the buckets to help move things along. It was a very busy and very productive day in the Adult Program and all 35 vases were completed right before our dismissal time!
The arrangements were a big success at our event and looked beautiful on the gold tablecloths. They were sold for $10 each as part of our fundraiser and attendees were quick to grab them at the end of the night.
Thank you United Wholesale Flowers and thank you Manny for giving us the opportunity to further our skills and be a part of the community!