Volunteers help Andy Manor residents with garden project

Published 1:51 am Thursday, August 30, 2018

Residents of Andalusia Manor who participate in a weekly garden club often enjoy the fruits of their labors.

Comfort Care Hospice volunteers partner with the activities staff from Andalusia Manor to facilitate the weekly activity.

“The garden club began as idea of (Andalusia Manor) Environmental Services Director Pat Henagan’s,” Volunteer Coordinator Genny Lee said. “With the blessing of SalLee Sasser-Williams, Stallion Sasser and Trece Mays, Comfort Care’s volunteer program began the partnership with Andalusia Manor to facilitate the gardening activity.”

Lee said that one of the reasons the residents love the garden club is because it engages all of their senses.

“They see the beautiful flowers. They hear the birds chirping and the laughter that naturally happens when working on a project,” she said. “They can smell the lavender and the rosemary. They feel the dirt and the sunshine, and finally, they get to taste the fruits vegetables that have grown from their own efforts.”

Lee said that the harvest from the garden is taken into the kitchen and is prepared so the residents can enjoy the food that they grew themselves.

“Some times they make salads for the residents,” Lee said. “And of course it tastes better knowing that it was made with hard work.”

The garden club usually has summer and fall harvests, Lee said.

“During the summer months, we have tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and squash,” Lee said. “We have recently planted onions, carrots, cauliflower, romaine lettuce and rutabagas for the fall garden. We still plan to add some turnips to the garden this fall as well.”

The group will finish up their third summer of gardening and Lee said that she usually learns more from the residents when they are out in the garden.

“The residents seem as enthusiastic as ever with our ongoing project,” Lee said. “They do the planting, watering, weeding and ‘dead-heading.’ Many of the residents are veteran gardeners and have many years of experience that we can all learn from. The garden fosters a sense of purpose for the residents and staff alike. We are all invested and want to see it do well.”

Activities assistant Teresa Mosley said that she is beyond thankful for what the Comfort Care Hospice of Andalusia does for the residents.

“They go above and beyond for all of our residents,” Mosley said. “They are always so nice and are always here entertaining our residents.”

Illine Crittenden, who is a part of the activities staff, said that the residents love being able to garden.

“A lot of the residents know what they are doing,” Crittenden said. “They probably know more than us and they have a good time being out here.”

Lee said the project is fulfilling.

“I find it very fulfilling to see how invested the residents are in the garden,” Lee said. “Their enthusiasm brings us all great joy.”

Along with the garden club, Comfort Care Hospice also has a volunteer group called Voices of Comfort that goes to the Andalusia Manor once a month to sing old gospel songs with the residents.

Lee said that there are several volunteers that help at the Comfort Care Hospice.

“I have volunteers who participate and help facilitate our support groups,” Lee said. “Such as the grief support group, veterans support group, and Alzheimer’s support group.”

For anyone interested in volunteering at Comfort Care Hospice they can call 334-428-4000.