Students’ gardening effort results in flowers for senior citizens

November 11, 2015

Copeland Elementary School third-grade students Vincent Bily, left, and Matthew Rawls inspect a zinnia with gardening instructor Andrea Packer of Ready to Grow Gardens on Nov. 10. After being grown and cut by the students, the zinnias will be delivered on Meals on Wheels routes.

Nov. 11, 2015—CFISD elementary school students are helping to brighten senior citizens’ days through the simple act of gardening.

Each Tuesday, Copeland Elementary School third-grade students cut zinnias and sunflowers in their school garden that will accompany home-delivered meals to seniors through the Meals on Wheels program.

Gardening instructor Andrea Packer assists third-grade student Haliegh Judon as she places a zinnia in a container to go to a Meals on Wheels recipient.

Stephanie Baker, owner of Ready to Grow Gardens, said she borrowed the idea from a news story she had found online.

“I saw that and thought it was such an awesome idea,” she said. “I contacted the local Meals on Wheels here and they were all for it.”

Copeland teacher Tiffani Charlie inspects plants with third-grade students Christian Slaughter, left, and Christian Garcia.

Third-grade classes trade cutting duties each week during their garden instructional time. After they cut the flowers on Nov. 10, Ready to Grow Gardens assistant Andrea Packer delivered them in individual containers to the local Meals on Wheels distribution site at Windwood Presbyterian Church.

Approximately 180 local seniors received the flowers along with their meals during Nov. 11 deliveries.

Copeland third-grade students Angelina Billings and Nikolaus Palmer study a gardening book prior to participating in a hands-on lesson on Nov. 10. 

“They all stay within our area, and we have gotten great feedback from the seniors. It truly makes a difference to them,” said Packer, a Copeland parent.

Baker, whose Garden Day curriculum serves pre-K through fifth-grade students at 16 school learning gardens, said the extra effort has been mutually beneficial for both seniors and students.

Instructor Andrea Packer with Ready to Grow Gardens assists Copeland third-grade students Miles Tanguay, left, and Billy Wagner with putting zinnias in their containers for Meals on Wheels. 

“The drivers get excited about it and the clients are loving it,” Baker said. “When I go back to deliver more flowers, they give me back the tubes that hold them because the seniors want it to keep going. I strongly believe in the power of students doing the planting, tending and harvest to make a real impact.”

Visit the Ready to Grow Gardens website at

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