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August 2, 2012 / Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce

Chamber member, The Kensington Garden Center, gives a helping hand

NEW BRITAIN — The Kensington Garden Center (chamber member) donated its services Wednesday to The Coram Deo Recovery Living Center in New Britain (chamber member) after hearing that its gardens were cruelly vandalized.

The living center had originally had dahlias, impatiens and marigold plants donated to them by the Baggott Family Farms in Bristol. But, while in the process of planting them in June, someone stole four of the five flats that they received, leaving them with nothing to use in their gardens.

“They were beautiful,” said Sandie S. a resident assistant at Coram Deo, who wishes to keep her last name anonymous due to the nature of the program she is in. “There was a container of anti-freeze and I think they poured anti-freeze because our marigolds were just shriveled.”

When The Kensington Garden Center heard the details of the story, they came out to the living center the very same day to survey the area and decide what else they could help with. They offered to donate plants and volunteered to plant them on their day off.

“What’s important to us is giving back to the community and being a part of it,” said Alan Ellison, who owns the garden center along with his wife.

Ellison brought along his daughter, Sara Ellison, his son, Kristopher Ellison and another one of his employees, Kim Nadeau to help fix several of the gardens around the house.

“I have an interest in community service so hearing their story, we had the resources to help and it was a great opportunity to get off site and do some work that we don’t normally get to do,” said Sara Ellison, business manager at the garden center.

Sandie S. says that she only asked if the garden center could donate some plants that were somewhat wilted or un-sellable. But, when they offered to do all the gardening around the house for them she was ecstatic.

“It was just amazing,” Sandie said. “It had to be just a blessing from above.”

Assistant Director at Coram Deo, Lisa Walsh, says it’s very important to the women there to feel as if the community is behind them and that the kind act by The Kensington Garden Center is one of the ways that happens.

“We really are grateful to them for coming,” said Walsh. “One of the main values we have at Coram Deo is that we want the women to live in a beautiful space, not just adequate, we want it to be excellent.”

Coram Deo, formerly known as Sarah’s House, is a non-profit transitional living center for women in recovery. According to its website, part of its vision is to be a home where women are treated with dignity and respect.

“It’s a great program to get women back on their feet and it should be more than just a place to live,” Sara Ellison said. “That’s why we decided to help.”

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