Fairbanks plant sale raises money for those in hospice care

Published: May. 29, 2021 at 5:39 PM AKDT|Updated: May. 29, 2021 at 5:40 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -The line was down the street at Saturday morning’s Hospice Plant Sale.

Hundreds of plant starts and tree clippings lined the gated area as residents shuffled up and down the rows.

This is the 39th year for the Hospice Plant Sale, which benefits Foundations Health Partners’ hospice service patients.

“Hospice means that you want to stay at home, but you’re going to need assistance,” Althea St. Martin, the Hospice Plant Chair, said. “It’s really a service for those that are at the last season of their life to make it easy for the transition, for them and the families.”

St. Martin said she has been volunteering at the plant sale for 12 years. She was personally touched by hospice care when her mother was dying and needed counseling on services available.

The money raised on Saturday could be used for various purposes, including airfare, funeral expenses, groceries, electric recliners or beds, and wheelchairs.

“All of the funds we raise here are for the benefit of hospice patients. The one criteria: If it’s something that is causing them anxiety and insurance isn’t going to cover it, our funds can step in and buy that plane ticket to be able to say a final goodbye,” St. Martin explained. “To put a window in, or to put a ramp in, or to make their life easier. If they are worried about their pet because they can’t afford the healthcare for the pet, we will take that pet to the vet.”

Around 100 volunteers help to make this plant sale a possibility.

Volunteers for the Hospice Plant Sale posed for a picture before opening the doors to the...
Volunteers for the Hospice Plant Sale posed for a picture before opening the doors to the public. Around 100 people helped prepare for the event, volunteering the last two months.(Althea St Martin)

“Between the growing, the watering, the arranging, the selling, there are so many different activities. We always encourage volunteering, and it’s a great place to work. We’ve been in the sunshine for two months now,” St. Martin said.

But Saturday morning’s plant sale wasn’t all about selling plants. It was about connecting with those you may not have seen all year.

“It’s wonderful to be here on sale day because you hear all of the stories about how hospice services have touched people,” St. Martin smiled as she spoke. “So much of our people here are just loyal to hospice, so it’s just a wonderful day… A fun time for gathering.”

All extra plants not sold at the end of the sale Saturday will be donated to community gardens around the interior of Fairbanks.

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