Unique colourful flower baskets made from recycled materials were created by people who are served through Communitas’ programs and their staff as a positive response to the theft of the organization’s floral baskets. (Communitas photo: Veronica Harms)

Unique colourful flower baskets made from recycled materials were created by people who are served through Communitas’ programs and their staff as a positive response to the theft of the organization’s floral baskets. (Communitas photo: Veronica Harms)

Theft of floral hanging baskets blooms into creative project

Communitas Supportive Care Society in Abbotsford turns negative into positive

The staff at Communitas Supportive Care Society in Abbotsford arrived at work several weeks ago to discover that someone had stolen all 10 floral hanging baskets that had been hung along the front of their office building.

The discovery was met with anger, outrage, frustration, and disbelief: Why would thieves target a charitable organization that supports people with developmental disabilities, mental health challenges and acquired brain injury? Do the thieves even know what Communitas does? If they did, would it have made a difference?

As staff continued to process their feelings, the conversations about how to respond began to take an interesting turn.

“Several people wondered what the ‘Upside-down Kingdom’ response to this theft would be, asking how we could respond in a way that was healthy and unexpected,” said Karyn Santiago, CEO for Communitas.

“A few of our creative staff did some brainstorming and we came up with a wonderful solution.”

That solution was the Blooming Positive Project – 10 hanging baskets of “flowers” created by both staff and people who are served by several of Communitas’ programs. The challenge was to create flowers using materials that were recycled, reused or repurposed.

The flowers also had to be weather-proof since they’d be hung outdoors. Along with these creations, participants in the project were encouraged to bring a donation for the food bank.

“We thought if we’re going to do something positive, then we should also be conscious of creation care,” Santiago said.

“By including a donation to the food bank, we turned the project from something that was simply internal to something that also benefits the community.”

After a couple of weeks of creative crafting, 10 colourful flower baskets were rehung where the original ones used to be and a large box of non-perishable items was delivered to the Abbotsford Food Bank.

“I’m grateful for a creative and compassionate staff team who daily reflect the mission, vision and values of this organization,” Santiago said.

“This Blooming Positive Project truly turned a negative experience into a positive celebration.”

Visit CommunitasCare.com for more information about the organization.