At the gateway to the Viatorian Community garden, giant sunflowers greet visitors, offering cheerfulness and a pop of color to the rest of the vegetable beds.IMG_3499

IMG_5051Viatorian Associate Joan Sweeney planted the flowers — including colorful zinnias, giant sunflowers, daisies and cosmos — early in the summer, and as they have blossomed and grown, she cuts stems and arranges them in small bouquets.

Along with the nearly 1,000 pounds of vegetables that Viatorians have contributed to the local food pantry, Joan has donated nearly 90 bunches of flowers, arranged in spare glass jars.

“I just love flowers,” she says, “and I love giving them away.”photo (11)

Officials at the Wheeling Township Food Pantry, who receive the floral donation, report that most of the arrangements are given to homebound seniors that they serve, and those in nursing facilities. Inevitably, they report, the gift of hand cut flowers elicits a smile.