The Untermyer Gardens Conservancy, a 43-acre public garden in Yonkers, New York, may be closed due to the pandemic, but its beautiful spring daffodil blooms are bringing joy beyond its gates. Spearheaded by chairman Stephen F. Byrns ’77, Daffodils for Heroes delivers the conservancy’s cheerful yellow flowers to nearby hospitals and nursing homes, where healthcare workers and patients fighting the effects of COVID-19 can enjoy a bit of springtime from their hospital beds and wards.
With permission from the City of Yonkers, the conservancy reached out to its most dedicated volunteers to see if they would be willing to help harvest the abundant crop of flowers. Small groups donned masks and gloves, kept socially distanced, and picked 30,000 blossoms in total, filling countless buckets and arranging them in biodegradable paper cups.
“We had to limit the group to eight volunteers at a time to keep things safe, but in no time we had our crew,” Byrns wrote in a public letter.
With support from the city’s Parks Department that helped set up flower arranging stations and lifted the heavy trays of flowers onto a large truck, the daffodils were delivered to nearby St. John’s and St. Joseph’s hospitals, the Richmond Children’s Center and Adira at Riverside Rehabilitation.
“The smiles and expressions of joy were heartwarming,” said Byrns.