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Officer Elisabeth and team caring for seniors in the community

South Simcoe Police’s Officer Elisabeth has teamed up once again with Linda’s Floral Designs to bring smiles to seniors this Valentine’s Day
2022 Caring with Cards and Carnations
The Caring with Cards and Carnations program run by Special Constable Elisabeth Aschwanden (second from right) of South Simcoe Police is assisted by Linda's Floral Designs' staff Mina Esmaili-Kokabi (left) and Josie Duffy (right) with Bradford Helping Hand Food Bank director Caroline Khan each Valentine's Day in Bradford.

In the bleak mid-winter of the pandemic a wellspring of red joy was released into the community.

Wanting to show seniors a little brightness last February, Special Constable Elisabeth Aschwanden asked tired elementary public and separate-school teachers to ask their students to create 450 cards for local seniors for St. Valentine’s Day.

Aschwanden said she was overwhelmed by the rapid response.

“We received 1,400 handmade cards within four days,” Aschwanden said.

Stamped with stickers and glitter, some were pop-up cards with hearts, others were addressed ‘To: Senior’ and others said they were glad the person receiving the card ‘exists’.

“There were some funny cards – I can’t help but laugh at some of them. Some are very sweet, some said, ‘I think you’re awesome’ and a lot of them had knock, knock jokes. They were wonderful,” she said.

This year, she’s been joined once again by Linda Donaher of Linda’s Floral Designs, who donated hundreds of carnations to be delivered under their new Caring with Cards and Carnations annual Valentine’s Day program.

This year, they’ll be delivering cards to the Bradford Valley Care Community, the Elden Retirement Home, LeBlanc Rest Home and LOFT Bradford House.

An additional 100 carnations are set aside for private homes, she said, adding several of the larger retirement homes either have their own celebration or are cautious about COVID protocols and receiving outside gifts.

Auxiliary police officers and volunteers from the Danube Seniors Leisure Centre help deliver the Valentine's Day treats. 

Donaher said she has kept her business going during the pandemic with help from the community and wants to pay the kindness forward.

“And it’s nice to brighten someone’s day,” Donaher said.

Although a large part of her job involves teaching school children about safety and drug awareness, this isn’t Aschwanden’s first foray into assisting area seniors. The community officer also ran an eight-week program called the Police Academy to inform seniors on everything from phone scams, personal safety, the court unit, as well as traffic, marine and canine units’ activities.

“It was one of my favourite things I’ve done as far as work goes. You feel like you’re in a school room with your classmates being with same seniors for the whole academy,” she said.

“I just love seniors and I believe if you bring joy to someone else, you receive some yourself.”


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About the Author: Cheryl Browne

Cheryl Browne is a longtime Simcoe County journalist who writes on a freelance basis for BradfordToday and InnisfilToday
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