Sometimes it is the little things that can brighten a senior’s day!

Headshot Trisha SonjaMISSION STATEMENT

The Stories for Seniors Project has altered its mission. Our new focus is the Happy Flower Day Project. We bring beautiful free donated day-old flowers to residents of senior living communities, hospitals, hospices, cancer treatment centers, recovery houses, adult day care centers, healthcare facilities, mental health facilities and other places where people need a little bouquet of joy to brighten their day. And just sometimes to strangers on the street!


Learn More about the Flower Project

What did we do for seniors living in continuing care communities prior to delivering the beautiful day-old bouquets of donated flowers?

From 2009-2012, we collected and distributed new and gently-used stuffed animals and crocheted, knitted and quilted afghans for folks in nursing homes, AIDS hospices, retirement communities, veterans’ hospitals and shelters. Sometimes it is the little things that can brighten a person’s day. (We are focusing on the Happy Flower Day Project so at this time, we do not need stuffed animals or blankets. In May, 2013, we began bringing beautiful bouquets donated to me each morning by several Trader Joe’s stores in the Philadelphia and suburban areas.)


Patricia Gallagher – BA, MBA
Cell: 267-939-0365

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There is no shortage of people who need a surprise “pick-me-up.” Most of the time, we show up unexpectedly. Flowers make people smile! The pictures include staff in a variety of senior settings such as  community centers, senior apartment buildings, and continuing care facilities. variety of senior centers, nursing homes and senior groups. And also lots of seniors that we meet along our daily flower route.


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pictures of bags of flowers1381428794034pic 3 circle of miracles

whole shopping cart of my flowersme in front of group with flowersme and white car and flowersangela holding 2 bouquetsman preaching blue shirt singing flowers stapeleyresidents holding flowers stapeley 

Bob G and me with flowersCAM00093

In May, 2013, we decided to bring bouquets of fresh flowers donated by Trader Joe’s to the residents of senior living communities. We blossomed what we have affectionately named “The Happy Flower Day Project.”

Every morning, I pick up several dozen to several hundred bouquets of beautiful petals and blooms. These are the day-old flowers donated to me by local florists. Our random act of bringing flowers spreads lots of sunshine. There is no shortage of people who love receiving a “Have a nice day!” bouquet of rainbow colored flowers such as orchids, roses, daisies, tulips, etc.

Thousands of people have been thrilled when a cheerful bouquet of fresh flowers showed up unexpectedly in their room, at their dinner place setting or on their laps.

CAM00060Lots of flowers in back seat of the carCAM00057CAM0004513814289920271381428794034

flowers in car 2



8 thoughts on “Sometimes it is the little things that can brighten a senior’s day!

  1. Again…I have watched these sad, lonely, wrinkled faces come alive within moments as Trisha enters the room…like Santa Claus dragging her huge sack of stuffed animals and warm, soft blankets to warm the hearts of those who have felt the cold of…aloneness.

    My sister Trisha doesn’t have much money yet drives to great distances to get these furry friends. With the price of gas these days, some of us might feel it too unnecessary or frivolous. Once, however, you see the faces of these seniors light up with joy as a soft, little teddy bear now rests on their lap…or a tan little doggie now sits on their lap , you will realize as Trisha does, that some moments are priceless…

    When Trisha turns to wave goodbye to her new friends…all the hearts that she has touched in that room…the residents are happy, they feel wanted… for now they have something to love.

  2. This is why I know that a small gesture of kindness can really brighten a person’s day. This story is FROM A GRATEFUL RECIPIENT OF A STUFFED ANIMAL DONATED BY A CRAIG’S LIST READER.

    If you would like to help by helping us to collect gently used stuffed animals and lap blankets, please contact Executive Director Patricia Gallagher: or call 267 939 0365.

    A Sock Doll Monkey

    It was brown, a soft brown that looked like a sock that my Uncle Jack would have worn during the Depression, nothing fancy, just a sturdy woven yarn. The sock was wrapped around a round ball for a head and there were two little red ears. Another sock formed the body and it was stuffed. It had a long tail, all made from a stretched, pulled and twisted old socks.

    It was a monkey stuffed animal. I remember having one like it when I still lived in my big white house, with all of my favorite braided rugs. It sat on a wicker basket in my living room. The same house that hosted parties, had tomatoes planted along the side of the garage, and blueberries with cream in the refrigerator. I can still hear the sounds of the oscillating fans and the sound of my little boy saying, “I love you, Mom” as he ran out the back door. The days when I used to ask, “What kind of peanut butter do you want? Crunchy or creamy?”

    When I moved, I gave away all of my things. I would not need the extras any more. It was not as if the monkey had a whole lot of sentimentality attached to it. It was a decoration, something cute and happy looking like the lollipops I used to keep in a vase.

    Somebody gave me a monkey stuffed animal a couple of months ago. I smiled at the monkey and knew I could not give this one away. A monkey that was identical to the monkey that had sat in my living room. Now it held so many memories for me. It brought me comfort. It reminded me of my old life before I had to make so many changes. First, a move from that house to a small apartment, going to live with relatives, and now where I am now. Feeling, as if I do not have a place of my own. My own little nest where I can put a monkey on a basket, just on an old picnic basket with a broken handle, lined with a red and white checked cloth napkin.

    Today, I was having a hard time focusing. I even wondered if I was having a stroke, pains in the neck, and heart thumping rapidly. I pulled a nubby blanket over me for comfort not warmth.

    I started thinking about the picnics, when my family would reserve a table at a park and before anyone would come, I would go over and tape colorful balloons to the end of the table. I was never much of a cook so I would run back and forth to the grocery store for potato salad, hot dogs and pickles. Somehow it always turned out nice – watching the kids running down to the lake to feed the ducks, putting ointment on a skinned knee, helping each other bring watermelons down to the table, trying not to fall on the pebbled paths as we came down the hill.

    So on Saturday, I was thinking too much about the old days, wistfully thinking about vacations, green plastic lawn chairs, posting my signs about yard sales, and even the days of cleaning my own house and doing loads of laundry. I thought about my family sitting in a pew at church, the people having barbecues with their families, and how lately I had felt like a 5th wheel. Nobody seems to need me. I find myself worrying a lot. I prayed to God to give me some peace. I miss my children.

    I turned on the radio and listened to a station that played piano music. I do not know much about meditation but I just wanted to see if the music could help me relax. I tried to curl up in the nubby old afghan, but squirmed and moved around a lot thinking this music is not helping me. Then, I remembered the monkey and I reached over to get it.

    I held it. I patted its back. I squeezed it. I felt love. I felt relaxed. I thought this is crazy. What if somebody peeks in and sees an old woman hugging a gangly-legged stuffed animal.

    I was aware of what I was thinking: Hmm…I am holding this like it is a baby, but I know it is much smaller than a baby is. I love the feel of this against my chest. It was familiar but oh so long ago. I held babies like this, my own and others. I yearned for that closeness again. l almost felt like he hugged me.

    It worked. The piano music, the nubby blanket and the monkey. I fell asleep and woke up rested. Like I had been in a silent sanctuary of peace.

    A monkey made out of an old article of clothing, a sock, just like the kind I used to wash in my laundry room, where I would read stories to my children about a Gingerbread Man and Banbury Cakes.

    Thank you to the person who donated that little stuffed animal and the blankets to Stories for Seniors. You will never know what that meant to me.

  3. I saw your story on Craigs List. It made my day.

    I am the mom of (now) three adult daughters, and while it was my hope to keep these precious babies until one day I could pass them to their children, circumstances have changed. My husband has lost his job, we are moving soon, and we can only afford to take essentials with us.

    I have several LARGE boxes containing dozens of gently loved stuffed animals I would happily send via ground shipment to whatever address you specify. (I care at home for my 89 year old Mom with Alzheimer’s. I KNOW what a difference having a ‘baby’ has meant to her).

  4. Hey, Patricia, remember the Tunnel of Love at Hershey Park?
    Remember when you brought your own pitcher to the bar for them to fill it?
    How about the Ice Man and the Coal Man who filled your coal bin?

    Here are a few other memories:

    Somebody telephoned you at the corner store and then they paid some kid a nickel to go and get you and you went to the store.

    There were black-outs during WWII and you had to turn out all of the lights and go down in the basement so the Germans wouldn’t know where the towns were.

    During the war, volunteers would wait at the train station with “food stands, ” tables that had free sandwiches, to give to the “boys” coming home. We waited at the North Broad station.

    How about the May Processions and Miraculous Medal novenas?

    Did anybody go to the Vaudeville Show at the Carmen Theater?

    My first ride in a new car was in a Pontiac.

    I went to the World’s Fair in New York in 1940. I was supposed to meet a friend that I had met at the Jersey Shore. I took the bus from Philadelphia. She lived in Long Island and got lost so I was 14 years old and there by myself. That’s where I saw the first television. It was called a Tri-line and Perisphel..not sure how to spell it.

    I liked Carol Burnett, Red Skelton, Shirley Temple.

    My favorite movie was the Boystown movie.

    You know the radio turned off about 1am. That is when they played the song Bluebird of Happiness. And televisions turned off and then you just saw a black or fuzzy screen.

    The last song played at the dances that I went to, at Saint Bonaventures, Holy Child and Saint Joseph’s, was called Stardust.

    Catholic men used to tip their hats when they passed a church even if they were on a bus. That was to show respect.

  5. It’s funny, Patricia, some of the little things that you miss when you leave the home where you lived for a long time and go to a retirement facility.

    You asked us about the things we used to cook……You know I miss sweeping my own floor in my kitchen. I used to like going to my laundry room, grabbing the broom and the little thig a ma jig, the thing that you scoop up the dirt with. yeah, the dustpan. I always liked a clean floor and you always could eat off of mine because I loved to clean.

    I liked to bake late at night when everybody was asleep. I greased the cookie sheets with Crisco, made a couple of dozen sugar cookies and surprised my family with treats in the morning.

    And I was a “wiper.” I always had a wet sponge and wiped down the refrigerator, the kitchen counters and the stainless steel sink. Whether I was talking on the phone or just puttering in the kitchen, I was always wiping something.

  6. Thank you, Patricia, for showing us the postcard that your father wrote to your mother during WWII. I think the Art of Letter Writing is going to be a lost art. I love writing letters to friends.

    I hope my arthritis doesn’t take over. A lot will be lost when people don’t write letters long-hand.

    Mary Jane

  7. Amazing! My grandmom is 94 years old and living by herself in a different country. I love my grandmom, and wish I can spend more time with her. You are doing a wonderful thing. Please advise on where I can donate to the elders?

  8. Thank you. I am happy to know that such amazing people are out there helping the elders. In my culture, I was taught to respect the elders. I will definitely try to gather gifts that you can give to the seniors in the nursing home.

    I first saw the ad posting on craiglist for Philadelphia, so I assume that you can be reached locally?

    Keep up the wonderful deeds!!!!!! The world needs more people like you.

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