These Two Friends Have Donated Over 350 Plants to Isolated Seniors During the Pandemic
Social distancing has affected everyone, but it’s been especially tough for seniors living in care facilities. Many of them have had to isolate and have been limited to phone calls and through-the-window visits with family. People all across the country have found ways to bridge the gap and spread a little joy, whether it’s through donated flowers from a canceled event, writing cards and letters, or creating care packages. Two friends in New York, Baila Dalfin and Nechama Hecht, saw the toll the pandemic was taking and decided to start planTogether, an initiative for donating plants to seniors isolated at home and in nursing facilities in Brooklyn and Queens.
Hecht noticed that social distancing was affecting the seniors in her life the most, including her grandmother since many had to quarantine and isolate themselves from friends and relatives in order to stay safe. She reached out to Dalfin, who is an essential worker in a nursing home, to see how they could work together to spread some happiness. “We teamed up to create planTogether as a way to show those most vulnerable that they are not alone and that they are being thought of and loved,” Hecht says.
At first, Dalfin and Hecht sent plants to people in their community and seniors living at the nursing home where Dalfin works. They started getting positive feedback and hearing heartwarming stories of how the plants they donated helped others almost immediately, and they knew that they needed to expand their operation. “One woman lost her husband a few months before the pandemic, and her granddaughter expressed gratitude and told us that since receiving the plant, she has been actively caring for it and it brought her so much joy,” Dalfin says.
Since April, the pair has donated more than 350 plants to seniors at over a dozen nursing homes in Brooklyn and Queens, and they’re donating more every week. Dalfin and Hecht chose to give houseplants because of the many ways that caring for a plant can improve someone’s mood and health, though they’ve also partnered with other charity organizations to send their plants along with care packages, cards, and books.
Though their donations have been limited to New York City so far, Dalfin and Hecht want to grow planTogether to help isolated seniors all across the country. “Currently, we are collaborating with community organizations across the U.S. to send plants to seniors in their area with the hope to expand our services and provide more meaningful connections and activities to seniors,” Hecht says.
If you want to get involved with planTogether, you can follow them on Instagram @plantogethernyc, where you can donate through Cash App or Paypal to help purchase plants for seniors, or their website for the campaign. You can also look into ways to donate to seniors in your community; many nursing facilities might have new restrictions due to the pandemic but are still accepting cards or care packages for residents. “We began this project with the intention of making people happy,” Dalfin says. “If our story inspires someone to take action and perform a good deed, we already know we did something right.”