Calling themselves the "Midtown elves," residents of Palo Alto 's Midtown neighborhood have launched a grass-roots effort to make holiday bouquets and cards for veterans at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System -- and residents of all ages and abilities are invited.
The merry band of volunteers will gather on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 10 a.m. to put together the small bouquets and cards at Nature's Alley -- a Palo Alto floral shop owned by Karen Froniewski, a former nurse.
The bouquets and cards will be delivered to veterans at the Palo Alto VA's Spinal Cord Injury unit and the hospital's hospice, Carrie Manley, one of the organizers, said.
Participants of all ages are invited to join and no experience is necessary. Each small bouquet costs $3 wholesale for the flowers, decorations and vase.
Community members can participate by making bouquets and cards, making donations or delivering the bouquets to the hospital. Organizers hope to raise enough money to guarantee that every veteran will get his or her own holiday bouquet, Manley said.
Donations can be dropped off at any time this week, including Sunday, at Nature's Alley in the Midtown Shopping Center, 2675 Middlefield Road. A donation of any amount can be made.
"Parents, this is a great opportunity to teach children that even the smallest donations can add up to make the season brighter for our hospitalized vets," Manley said.
Last year, the neighborhood effort was a welcome tonic to the usual hustle-bustle of the holidays, she said.
A team of volunteers (including, rumor has it, Santa himself) will make bedside deliveries to the veterans.
"If we end up with enough donations, we will take additional bouquets to the VA facility on Willow Road in Menlo Park," Manley said.
More information on how to help is available by calling Karen at Nature's Alley at 650-326-3632.