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Cindy Ficorelli

Phone: (810) 606-6270
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Genesys focuses on art of healing through EverGreen

(GENESEE COUNTY, MI) When entering the Genesys Regional Medical Center atrium, visitors often stop at the EverGreen floral cart to pick up a small plant or a large potted floral arrangement before visiting their loved one. Buying flowers from a hospital gift shop is not a new idea, however, the Genesys Volunteers have taken this concept one step further: they constructed two greenhouses on the hospital grounds, and grow their own plants and flowers as a fundraising service for Genesys.
A hospital-based greenhouse is a concept new to acute care medical facilities in Michigan, reports Mary Jane Grunden, director of Volunteer Services who helped orchestrate the group's idea. "Our Genesys vision focuses on the art and science of healing, and the EverGreen fits perfectly with our vision."

EverGreen opened in the spring of 2004 with an array of Easter flowers, flowering plants and hanging baskets. Mother's Day brought booming sales of violets, daffodils, mums and dozens of varieties of flowering plants. Season after season, the EverGreen continues to feature plants for special occasions and holidays.

Genesys volunteers not only sell the flowering plants at the EverGreen cart during the week, but they also work in the greenhouse to help plant flowers and care for them until they are ready to sell. At this time of year, more than 50 types of flowering plants are growing in the greenhouses.

"When we chose to undertake this new project, I was overwhelmed by the response of the volunteers. So many stepped forward to help make the EverGreen a reality," Grunden points out. "And, each season, we expand the project a little more."

This year, Genesys Volunteers sold bulbs in the spring. Soon, they will take orders for annuals. In the fall, mums are a big seller, and Christmas brings big sales of poinsettias, holiday evergreens, wreaths in many sizes and grave blankets. "Last year, we sold more than 2,500 mums at the EverGreen," Grunden notes.

"We erected a second greenhouse to help meet the demand of our buyers," reports Adam Horski, who was hired to oversee the greenhouse and the EverGreen. "We sell everything we grow, and the demand continues to increase."

In addition to growing flowering plants from the EverGreen, the Genesys greenhouse volunteer team also help grow the large pots of flowers used to decorate the Health Park grounds.

"Our newest addition to the volunteer team are the EverGreen gardeners, a group of people who will plant and maintain the flowers on the grounds and in our two courtyards," Grunden says. "Many of these volunteers are master gardeners."

Grunden also is happy to report that the EverGreen has developed a regular customer base. "Like many other retail outlets, we, too have our regulars, and the numbers continue to grow!"

The EverGreen cart is located in the Genesys Regional Medical Center Health Park atrium. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The public is welcome.

The Genesys Volunteers, comprised of almost 600 men and women, not only provide extra hands in many patient-support areas, but they also conduct many fundraising events throughout the year, earmarked for a designated Genesys program or service, or piece of equipment. The group has raised more than $2.5 million since the hospital on the Health Park campus opened in February 1997. Funds have been used to develop the nature trails at Health Park, to add 31 beds at the hospital, to purchase equipment for a third cardiac catheterization lab, and to help fund the Paul J. "Rocky" Roll Cardiac Rapid Diagnostic Center - to name a few.


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