This holiday season, veterans at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System were given a special treat – poinsettias that had been grown in the hospital’s patient garden after having been donated by Orange Coast College.
OCC sells thousands of poinsettias each December to raise money for student scholarships at its annual Poinsettia Sale. However, the College also sets aside some of the clippings it buys from a vendor to donate. This is the second year that OCC’s Horticulture department has donated poinsettia clippings to the VA Patient Garden. The garden is run by Scot Moon, an Coast horticulture alumni who now works as a vocational rehabilitation specialist and garden manager at the Tibor Rubin Medical Center. Last year, OCC donated between 20 and 30 plant clippings – this year Horticulture instructors Rick Harlow and Joe Stead set aside between 200 and 300 clippings for the veterans hospital, even going the extra mile to pot the clippings before delivering them to Long Beach.
After growing them in the garden, Moon enlisted students from Cal State Long Beach to foil wrap and deliver the plants to various departments at the hospital, including the Spinal Cord Injury inpatient wards, Acute Psychiatry nurses stations, Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom department, Blind Rehab, Hospice ward, and more.
The students also donated plants to the Fisher House, a network of homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while their loved one is receiving treatment.
“You have made so many people here happy,” Moon wrote in an email to Harlow and Stead on Dec. 10. “You’re wonderful people.”
This article was released by Orange Coast College.