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Connecting Hearts: Jennie Hesher

Fishers mom brings flowers, cheer to local seniors.

Writer / Suzanne Huntzinger
Photographer / Brian Brosmer

My grandmother adorned the altar of her parish with her homegrown roses every weekend faithfully. My sisters and I accompanied her when we were in town visiting. When my grandma was placed in a nursing home and no longer capable of decorating the church, I often wondered if someone might remember her and bring her flowers to put a smile on her face.

Had our family not lived two-and-a-half hours away from her, I would gladly have done it. Sadly, many residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities don’t have have friends or family nearby, an angel to drop in and bring flowers or just spread good cheer and say a prayer with them.

Fishers mom and founder of Connecting Hearts, Jennie Hesher, is that angel. Surely heaven sent, she sweeps into Allisonville Meadows and Hamilton Trace on Fridays to deliver flowers to the residents celebrating birthdays, many of whom never receive a visitor.

Hesher started the ministry just two years ago when she and her children decided to deliver cookies to nursing home residents on Valentine’s Day and Veterans Day.

“I have the best memories of visiting my grandmother in the nursing home regularly,” Hesher says. “I wanted my kids to have the same experience.”

What started out as delivering cookies twice a year quickly grew to singing at the nursing home twice a month. Then, last fall, Hesher discovered a gift from God that she could share weekly with the residents having birthdays or celebrating other special occasions.

Flowers at her parish, St. John Vianney, left over from a wedding or funeral, fresh and fragrant, often ended up in the trash. Hesher decided to ask someone in her parish if she could take those leftover flowers to residents at the nursing home for their birthdays. Now, Hesher and any volunteers she can find do weekly deliveries.

“We also sing to them and pray,” Hesher says. “Sometimes they ask us to pray for the simplest things like peace or just for their families.”

Florist Random Acts of Flowers joined in and donated flowers to Hesher’s cause. The florist already has a program of their own to donate flowers to area hospitals, but they were so inspired by Hesher’s kindness, they wanted to contribute.

Hesher says she is amazed at the impact it has on the residents when children help deliver the flowers.

“We delivered flowers to a lady celebrating her 100th birthday. She was so elated, it just made her melt,” she says.

Word has traveled fast about the work Connecting Hearts is doing.

“More and more people keep offering to help us and donate,” Hesher says. “We haven’t had to spend a single dollar.”

Plans to grow the ministry are already in the works. Hesher is having a website professionally designed and hopes to have it up and running soon. She’s also working very diligently to get more churches involved.

Already, her ministry has expanded to add the Hearth at Windermere and Prairie Lakes to the delivery route, and Hesher hopes to add more nursing homes or assisted living facilities to the list. Connecting Hearts is also looking for students who need to commit to community service hours to help deliver flowers.

Look for details coming soon about a Connecting Hearts fundraising event this fall at the Wellington Banquet and Conference Center in Fishers. The center is already a generous donor of flowers to Connecting Hearts. The event will start with wine and hors’ d’oeuvres, and a dinner will follow.

In the meantime, go to the Connecting Hearts Facebook page to find out how to become involved with the ministry. Hesher says volunteer signups should be active on the Facebook page soon.

Whether your church or parish is interested in donating lightly used flowers, your nursing home would like to be included on the delivery route, your school is looking for ways for their students to become a part of Hesher’s regular Friday deliveries, or you’d simply like to make a donation, go to the Connecting Hearts Facebook page, reach out to Hesher and find out how to become a part of this life-changing ministry.

About Suzanne Huntzinger

Suzanne Huntzinger has a journalism degree from IU and has lived in the Geist community for 18 years.

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