Crown Heights resident Balia Dalfin witnessed firsthand the devastating affects of coronavirus pandemic on elderly New Yorkers working at a local nursing home, Fox 5 New York reports.

“I saw firsthand how it felt for the residents, the fact that they couldn’t have family and friends visit them,” Dalfin said. In an effort to give back to the community, she partnered with her best friend Nechama Hecht in April to create planTogether. Through the initiative the duo distributes plants to NYC seniors quarantined at home and at nursing home facilities all over Brooklyn and Queens.

The pair raised the funds needed for planTogether through Instagram and also received plant donations from local gardening businesses. As Orthodox Jews, they said giving back to their community was something that had been ingrained in them.

“We do see how much it’s appreciated by them, they do feel like people are thinking about them and people care about them so that’s something that inspires us to continue moving forward,’ Hecht said.

Dalfin added: “Bringing a plant really brightened their room, gave them something to do and it made them feel a little less lonely.”

The Bedford Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation was one of the many nursing facilities to receive plants. In a statement to Fox 5 New York, the center personally thanked the two young women for their donations:

“The restrictions on visitors, communal dining, and group activities during the pandemic have been extremely difficult for our residents at Bedford Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation…Our residents who have been recipients of planTogether’s initiative not only feel that someone is looking after them, but they now have something to look after too.”

Since starting the initiative, the pair has given away plants to more than 300 seniors. They plan to keep raising funds to keep the initiative going and hope to inspire others to give back to their communities.

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Yannise Jean

Yannise Jean is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in publications like Okayplayer and Well + Good. Follow her on Twitter @yjeanwrites.

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