Nonprofit organization gives over 300 roses to senior citizens for Valentine’s Day

By Taylor Belcher

DECATUR, GA.—This past Valentine’s Day, a nonprofit organization, Breaking the Chains of Generational Curses (BCGC), held its fourth annual Help Hearts Holiday event, where it gave roses to senior citizens living in Golden Living Center and Traditions in Decatur, Ga.

Led by its chairman, Shar Bates, BCGC was able to gather enough donations to purchase over 300 individual roses and over 150 cards. “We had an eventbrite.com account that allowed volunteers to donate either their time and or/money for the roses,” Bates said. “The cards were a craft project from my daughter’s elementary school,Cedar Grove Elementary, here in DeKalb County.”

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Aniya Bates holding cards she and her classmates made for Helpful Hearts Holidays on Feb. 13, 2016. This photo was taken by Taylor Belcher. 

BCGC assembled a group of approximately 20 volunteers on Saturday afternoon. Volunteers ranged from the ages of four to 50. Most of the volunteers were women, however the one male in the group was local rap artist, Carl Duperval.  “I met Shar at an artist freestyle event,” Duperval said. “We’ve had a great working relationship since. So I had to come show my support for her event today.”

BCGC began distributing roses to guests in the Golden Living Center first. Most residents were excited to see the group of young volunteers and welcomed them with smiles, hugs and kisses. However, others were not as happy to be awaken from their afternoon nap by the commotion stirring in the hallways and the abrupt entry of their rooms. After a number of complaints, a nurse instructed the volunteers to knock and only enter with the tenant’s permission.

After half-an-hour, BCGC transitioned to their next destination, Traditions. While the Golden Living had about 20 volunteers, more than half of the volunteers did not go to Traditions. Linda Overstreet, a BCGC volunteer, said she and most others were unaware that the organization was going to a second location.

After arriving at Traditions, BCGC sat in the lobby for about 10 minutes waiting for permission to pass out their flowers and cards. “I thought my secretary, Bianca, had everything ready to go at both locations but no worries,” Bates said. “We’ll improvise.”

After while, access was granted and the group began their second round of deliveries.

The residents of Traditions also welcomed and thanked BCGC for such a kind gesture and urged many of them to come back and visit. The volunteers even went down the to the dementia ward to simply sit and talk with some of the tenants.The staff did not allow volunteers to give out roses or cards out of concern that the dementia patients may try to eat them.

A BCGC volunteer, MiMi Glover, brought her rescue dog, Smokey,  along with her to Helpful Hearts Holidays. “The residents were grateful to get cards and roses but they were excited to see my dog,” Glover said. Smokey went room to room allowing each tenant a chance to pet the puppy.

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Christian Bates hugging a Traditions resident at BCGC’s Helpful Hearts Holidays on Feb. 13, 2016. This photo was taken by Taylor Belcher. 

The star of the show was Bates’ four-year-old-son Christian. Christian was charmed each guest after giving them their cards which he always followed with a hug.

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