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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Mayor Bondy spreads Valentine’s cheer to residents at Iler Lodge


by Garrett Fodor

As cupid’s arrows began to fly, Mayor of Essex, Sherry Bondy – with help of members of Council, local partners, and the community, ensured residents at Iler Lodge received a special valentine this year.

On Saturday, Mayor Bondy, along with Councillor Katie McGuire-Blais, were on hand at Iler Lodge to present each resident in the retirement and long-term care sections with unique handmade Valentine’s Day gifts. Each resident received a custom flower arrangement that was displayed in a wine bottle donated by the community. The gift was coupled with a custom coloured and handwritten message by children in the community.

Around 150 of these special gifts were prepared and delivered for this project.

The project, Bondy noted, came together over the past few weeks. Utilizing public spaces, such as libraries across the town, individuals were invited to drop-off or colour labels that were used for the bottles, as well as drop off empty wine bottles that were used as vases.

Previously, Bondy said she dropped off cards and pictures for residents before, and has given flowers to residents at the Harrowood Retirement Home before. This year, she and those involved on this project, wanted to bring the special Valentine’s Day project into Essex Centre for the residents at Iler Lodge.

“It’s truly a community effort from everyone involved, and it is so nice because this makes the day of so many people. We had Harrow Daycare and the local Girl Guides and other organizations come out and help colour and make them, and it is truly nice to see the end product and the enjoyment they bring.”

Bondy is extremely happy to see community members back to enjoying their public spaces once again, such as the local libraries. She is grateful for the support of the community in helping to organize and create this project, and is thankful to the Optimist Club of Essex for donating the nearly 300 flowers for the vases.

Looking ahead, Bondy would like to continue to drop-off cards and art for the residents at Iler Lodge again, likely around Easter. She will look at planning an event in Harrow and McGregor closer to the date to arrange any gift ideas. Essex residents can always drop-off art or cards at local libraries anytime, which will be collected and distributed for special projects like this year’s Valentine’s Day gifts.

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