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Flowers Power Charitable Fund at Charlestown

By Danielle Rexrode
August 5, 2021
Flowers Power Charitable Fund at Charlestown

Given her name, it's not surprising that Joyce Rose loves flowers. As a founding member and former president of the Hughesville Garden Club in southern Maryland, Joyce learned the art of flower arranging. Now she is putting her skills to good use at Charlestown, the Erickson Senior Living community in Catonsville, Md.

Second Hand Rose, a small group of volunteers led by Joyce, create and sell beautiful faux flower arrangements created from materials donated to Charlestown's Treasure Sale. The proceeds from all sales are donated to Charlestown’s Benevolent Care Fund, a philanthropic fund that allows Charlestown residents in need to remain part of the community, regardless of their ability to pay.

A new idea

“When we moved to Charlestown in 2019, I began volunteering with the Treasure Sale,” says Joyce, a retired nurse. “I was helping sort items and saw all of these pots, vases, and flowers. Then I worked the flower table at one of the sales and I noticed that the prices were so cheap they were practically giving them away. I started thinking, maybe I could put these flowers together with the vases and sell them for more money.”

Similar to a flea market, the Treasure Sale is run by the residents of Charlestown and held several times throughout the year. All of the items from clothing and collectibles to kitchenware and furniture come from donations. Proceeds from the sale go to support the community’s Benevolent Care Fund, Student Scholars Fund, Staff Appreciation Fund, as well as various clubs and organizations within the Charlestown community.

Once Joyce got the green light to go ahead with her plan, she transformed her apartment into a one-woman workshop. “We were in the midst of the pandemic when I started and it’s how I entertained myself,” says Joyce. “I completed about 30 arrangements, some of the pieces were large conch shells, which I decorated and filled with flowers. They were very popular and they sold out in two days.”

Joyce’s vision resulted in two flower shows, which raised well over $900. Encouraged by her success, she planned more shows. But this time she didn’t have to go it alone.

“I had two residents approach me and ask if they could join me,” says Joyce. One of them worked with baskets and I don’t do baskets so I thought that would complement my work. The other resident grew up with a family floral business so I thought she could teach me a thing or two.”

Creating balance

One of those volunteers, Betty Brown Young, uses her art background to create beautiful flower baskets.

“I met Joyce when she was working in the flower department at the Treasure Sale,” says Betty. “When she told me what her idea was, I said I would be happy to join her. I have never had formal lessons in flower arrangement but I know a lot about colors, scale, and symmetry, and that translates into making a balanced flower arrangement. Over the years I would buy baskets and flowers from the Treasure Sale so I kind of have a knack for doing flower arrangements, especially in baskets. Each volunteer has their way of doing things and it creates a lot of variety.”

Arrangements are sold at scheduled flower shows. Between shows, arrangements can be purchased via the display cases outside the craft rooms on Charlestown’s Main Street, as well as at the Ladies’ Boutique and Treasure Chest. Each arrangement features a placard with all of the contact information for the designer who sells directly to the buyer. Prices typically range from $5 to $35 and custom orders are considered.

“One of the biggest advantages to doing this is making new friends. If you have something in common with other people this is the way to become friends because you are working together for the same goal,” says Betty. Second Hand Rose will feature a flower sale this fall, as well as a holiday sale. If everything goes according to plan, Joyce says she hopes to raise $3,000 by the end of the year.

“I find creating these designs very relaxing. It’s satisfying and creative and it has a purpose. It’s good for the soul,” says Joyce. “I love the fact that the Benevolent Care Fund helps people here. I believe it’s a good cause and the fact that we are contributing feels good. Charlestown is all about helping others.”

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