Vermont Blooms Initiative working to grow healthy spirits

Published: Aug. 6, 2022 at 8:07 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Every time something exciting happens for the Ronald McDonald House, they ring their ceremonial bell to mark the day. A home away from home for families of critically ill children has been chosen to get flower plantings from the Vermont Blooms Initiative.

“We rang the bell when we heard they would be coming in and doing this planting for us,” said Kristine Bickford of Ronald McDonald House.

And ring the bell they did as the Vermont Nursery and Landscaping Association chose the Ronald McDonald House as their Vermont Blooms Initiative.

“As an organization the Vermont Nursery and Landscape Association we’ve done public outreach, this is an event that we created due to Covid really as an opportunity to reach out to the community and make a difference,” said Ashley Robinson of the Vermont Nursery Landscaping Association (VNLA).

The VNLA has been carrying on this tradition since the fall of 2020 since they have not been able to do their annual Vermont Flower Show due to Covid restrictions. They pick a civic landscape to beautify as they call it, by planting flowers around the property. This year, when the Ronald McDonald House was picked out of the flower pot, they say it was a huge honor.

“Its been a dream, it’s been something on our wish list to have the front perimeter of the property landscaped. We’ve talked about putting in hedges, but this will just add a buffer, its going to add so much to once again this gem,” according to Bickford.

The Ronald McDonald House has been part of downtown Burlington for generations, and more than three thousand families stay at the house a year while their children are being treated at the UVM Medical Center.

“And I kind of feel like everyone deserves to come home at the end of the night to a nice home away from home having more beautiful flowers and shrubs here buffer to the street for them to come out in this lovely court yard, and just come here and relax after probably a stressful day at the hospital,” according to volunteer Silvia Jope.

The Ronald McDonald organization says they are beyond grateful for the opportunity and hope that this addition makes the house feel even more like home.

“All I had to do was say yes, oh this is wonderful, we are so excited you are coming,” said Bickford.

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