Issue 5. January 2022

Welcome to the winter 2022 edition of BloomBuzz!

Bear’s Blooms: A blooming partnership

In the summer of 2020, The Bloom Group received a call from a local florist inquiring about donating fresh flowers to our clients. Tess Atkins, the owner of Bear’s Blooms in East Vancouver, was inspired to give back to her neighbourhood. Since then, Tess and her team have delivered fresh bouquets each week to May’s Place in the Downtown Eastside and Cottage hospice in East Vancouver.

This donation has helped lift the spirits of the patients and the staff. “The bouquets are beautiful and a welcome addition to our hospices,” said Vivien McTavish, Clinical Practice Lead. “It’s the little touches like this that make hospice feel like home. We look forward to receiving the flowers each week. Bear’s Blooms also removes the old bouquets each week too which is extremely kind and considerate of them.” The partnership with Bear’s Blooms didn’t stop there. They generously donated to the silent auction in support of May’s Place 30th Anniversary event in October 2020.

In 2021, the company stepped forward to become an employer of the new You’re Hired! program that provides paid work opportunities for residents of Bloom.

A new partnership with Bear’s Blooms provides part-time work for residents like Sakura as part of the You’re Hired! program.

“Being a part of the You’re Hired! program has been a rewarding experience,” said Atkins. “Our new team member, Sakura, has been a valued asset and is a pleasure to work with. It’s truly a win-win for our staff, our business, Sakura, and the community.”

Interested in employing a You’re Hired! worker? Contact Laura Faint: lfaint@thebloom​

Click here watch our You’re Hired! program to learn more!

Sound Sleep for Women and Children

A good night’s sleep is essential to maintain health and improve outcomes for overall well-being. The Sleep Well Mattress Program helps provide comfort and quality sleep for women and children living in shelters.

The new program, launched in 2021, addresses the persistent need to replace worn mattresses subject to a high degree of wear and tear at Powell Place and Springhouse shelters. Thanks to a generous donation of $10,000 from G&F Financial Group in June 2021, Bloom was fortunate to purchase 40 new quality mattresses and frames for women and children.

“When we realized we could have an impact on the quality of life for women and children living in shelters by providing funds for new mattresses, we jumped at the opportunity”, says Anita Jensen, Manager, Community Engagement at G&F Financial Group. “It is rewarding to know we could make a difference by providing this donation to The Bloom Group.”

Thanks to a generous donation of mattresses from G&F Financial Group, women and children in shelters enjoy better quality sleep.

Our goal is to replace 100 mattresses at a cost of $250 per mattress. Please consider donating to the Sleep Well Mattress Program.

Celebrating a Legacy Partnership: P.A. Woodward’s Foundation

Over our 60-year history, The Bloom Group has been privileged to work with a number of community partners who share a common goal to improve the lives of residents in the Downtown Eastside. The P.A. Woodward’s Foundation is one of these partners with whom we have enjoyed a long and rewarding history.

Since 1968, we have benefited from an enduring collaboration with P.A. Woodward’s Foundation which is dedicated to improving the health and welfare of British Columbians with a focus on relieving suffering and advancing healthcare.

Over the years, The Foundation has gifted a total of $262,359 to Bloom to purchase furnishings and medical equipment for our patients at May’s Place and Cottage Hospice and residents of Victory House. In 2021, the Foundation donated $30,000 to purchase a new walk-in tub at May’s Place for end-of-life patients. This donation will replace the original tub that P.A. Woodward’s Foundation funded 30 years ago. The Bloom Group is grateful for the continued generous support of this legacy partner.

Funding from P.A. Woodward’s Foundation provides a new walk-in tub for the patients of May’s Place hospice. Funding replaces the original 30-year-old tub that the Foundation funded in 1990.

Bloom Employee Anniversary Series
Spotlight on Sherrie: Registered Nurse at Victory House 

Sherrie has worked for The Bloom Group for 29 years as a Registered Nurse. She spent the first eight years at the former Willingdon House in Burnaby and the past 28 years at Victory House in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. She’s witnessed a lot of changes over the years but one constant has been some of the residents and staff who have been there as long, or longer, than she. It’s these longtime connections that keep her there. “After all this time, some of them I consider family. They’ve been there for me.”

A significant change that Sherrie has experienced is the aging population of the residents. Over the years, residents are “aging in place and with that comes a lot more medical conditions, mobility problems, continence problems, they just become a lot more complex and require more care and yet there’s still only one of me.”

Coupled with the demands of aging in place is the state of new admissions. On one hand, Victory House is dealing with “frail elders but also a lot of younger people with addiction issues. New admissions are extremely complex”. For the first time, Sherrie and her co-workers are dispensing methadone to keep people from dying due to an opioid overdose.

“It’s challenging,” she admits. But it’s the people that make her stay. “I’m there for the residents. I like seeing their faces in the morning. Our residents have a real authenticity. They’re genuine. I think more so than the general population. They’re just who they are unapologetically sometimes. It’s kind of refreshing.”

The pandemic has meant yet more changes. During COVID, Sherrie took on nursing duties that would normally be done in the community, such as dressing a persistent wound for a resident, as well as additional responsibilities like attending virtual medical appointments with clients. Sherrie admits the added tasks are time-consuming but she appreciates the new procedures may remain in place after the pandemic is behind us and agrees “being mindful of infection control is probably a good thing”.

Change can be stressful but also rewarding. The biggest change may be in the transformation of the residents themselves. “I’ve seen residents come in and they’re not making eye contact. They’re not talking to anybody. After a few years, all of a sudden they’re joining activities. They’re making connections with other residents. They’re talking to staff.” These transitions don’t happen overnight. Sometimes it’s the activities and excursions like working on a farm that makes a difference, or the chance to attend a dance. Sherrie recalls the Victory House dances were always a hit with the residents. They cleared the tables out of the way in the cafeteria, everybody danced – even the cook came out of the kitchen to join them. According to Sherrie, some residents wouldn’t participate in anything else but would come for the dances.

For Sherrie, working at The Bloom Group for 29 years has provided her with the “chance to give back. It’s good for the soul to serve. If that’s your job that’s what you can do and that’s important. That’s valuable.”

*Sherrie’s story is part I of the Employee Anniversary Series celebrating 20+ years at Bloom

Hug-It-Forward: Send a Virtual Hug!

National Hugging Day is today! This year’s National Hugging Day will be celebrated with caution for the health and safety of all. Although some of us are not able to hug our grandparents, friends, and favorite co-workers, it doesn’t mean we can’t send them that warm and reassuring feeling virtually.

#HugItForward, do something nice, bring a smile to the faces of people you care about and to your amazing online friends by sending them this virtual hug!

Spread the warmth! Copy and paste this virtual hug (image above) and share it via email or text to 4 people!

Talentines: A Virtual Talent Contest 

In time for Valentines, The Bloom Group brings you Talentines.

Do you have a special talent you’d like to share? Perhaps you can sing, dance, play an instrument, draw, or perform a trick. Enter our Virtual Talent Contest.

Send us a video of your special talent by February 14th. You could win a prize!

One $50.00 gift card each will be awarded to the top 3 talent winners. Winners will be announced on February 16th.

Send your talent videos to via WeTransfer Don’t delay! The contest closes at 12:00 Midnight on February 14, 2022.

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CRA: BN108021544RR0001

The Bloom Group
391 Powell Street
Vancouver, BC
V6A 1G4