Local seniors are making an effort to provide relief to the people of Ukraine.

Residents of the Heartland retirement community in Okotoks are crocheting blue and yellow sunflowers in order to raise funds.

All funds are going toward the Canada-Ukraine Foundation and their support of the Ukrainian Humanitarian Appeal.

The flowers include safety pins in order to display the flowers on your garment of choice and further spread awareness.

The idea came from Heartland staff member Angela Dorey.

"When I had heard that the sunflower was the national flower of Ukraine, I thought 'well I'm sure I can come up with a pattern and make a sunflower,' so I did, and brought it in the next day, spoke with our management team and they were on board with doing it. I tapped into Lena's expertise initially to make sure the pattern made sense, and it took off from there," says Dorey.

The Lena in question is Lena Hughes, a seasoned crocheter who's been putting her skills to the test in order to meet the demand.

"Ten a day, maybe. I haven't really been doing anything but flowers in all my spare time. I'll run down with three or four because it's empty, and running down again. It's really rewarding, I was really amazed at how quickly they were going, and they're still going like that," says Hughes.

heartland flower box march 17 2022

She's not alone, as a few other residents have joined in the crocheting and needle-sewing efforts, along with some employees and family members connected to Heartland.

Another Heartland resident, Barbara MacDonald, is glad to be able to take action in a meaningful way.

"This is just so meaningful, we're really enjoying being able to do this and to help. It's very interesting, very rewarding, we feel because every time we turn on the TV we're not sure we even want to watch what's going on, it's so heartbreaking."

She's been thrilled at the response.

"People are so generous, it's not just change in the box, they're all so willing to help and participate."

The first day alone saw $400 in donations.

Dorey says the eagerness of Heartland's residents didn't come as a shock to her.

"We all have an ingrained sense of wanting to make a difference, and it doesn't matter what part of our life stage we're in, that need doesn't go away as we get older."