Garden tour fund-raiser for Meals on Wheels

A tour of Coon Rapids residents’ side-by-side gardens Sunday afternoon raised money for the Coon Rapids-Blaine Meals on Wheels program.

Connie Thompson (left) and Norma Bauman (right) brought their cameras to the garden tour fund-raiser to take photos of the various plants and flowers on the three acres of the Robidoux and Anderson properties on Mississippi Boulevard. These flowers they were photographing were cosmos, according to Thompson.

Connie Thompson (left) and Norma Bauman (right) brought their cameras to the garden tour fund-raiser to take photos of the various plants and flowers on the three acres of the Robidoux and Anderson properties on Mississippi Boulevard. These flowers they were photographing were cosmos, according to Thompson.

The fund-raising garden tour took place at the riverside homes of Janet and Janice Robidoux and their neighbor Everett Anderson at 10912 and 10922 Mississippi Blvd.

The Robidoux sisters and Anderson have jointly maintained the gardens on their properties for 18 years, according to Janet Robidoux, who is president of the Coon Rapids-Blaine Meals on Wheels program.

The gardens were started after TJB Homes built the homes where the Robidoux sisters and Anderson live in 1994, Robidoux said.

“We call them the hidden gardens,” she said.

They are not visible from Mississippi Boulevard except for prairie/butterfly gardens adjoining the boulevard.

The garden tour was highlighted by a 30- by 70-foot boulder-edged ponds surrounded by plants and flowers, which spans the two properties.

According to Robidoux, there are thousands of plants and flowers in the gardens and 1,500 annuals are planted each year.

“We are trying to get more perennials and a lot of the plants seed themselves,” Robidoux.

The three acres include a variety of formal, wildflower and water gardens and host many visits each year.

The Robidoux twins’ garden has been featured in the media, both print and broadcast locally and nationally.

According to Robidoux, some 150 people toured the gardens Sunday afternoon, paying either $10 for advanced tickets, while tickets at the gate Sunday were $15.

Donations in the amount of $500 each were made by TJB Homes and Thrivent Association for Lutherans, Robidoux said.

Robidoux estimates that proceeds from the event, all of which go to the Meals on Wheels program, will be in the $2,500 range.

Meal on Wheels is a non-profit organization that delivers hot noon-time meals to shut-ins and the elderly in Coon Rapids and Blaine communities.

When it began in 1979, there were four routes; now there are 12 routes per day with volunteers delivering 110 meals on average Monday through Friday.

In addition, frozen weekend meals in microwavable containers are delivered on Fridays to 70 clients for weekends and holidays as needed.

As well, breakfast meals for the next morning are delivered with the lunches Monday through Friday.

And in October, each client receives a blizzard box containing two frozen meals in the event deliveries are canceled because of severe weather.

The volunteer drivers not only deliver meals they will check on the client’s well-being and report any problems to Meals of Wheels Administrator Marie Rudstrom, who will followup with caretakers and authorities.

The meals are prepared at Camilia Rose Care Center in Coon Rapids, where volunteers from local churches pick them up for delivery.

According to the Coon Rapids-Blaine Meals on Wheels brochure, the cost for the lunch hot meals and weekend frozen meals is $4.75 per meal plus $2.50 per breakfast.

But some people qualify for assistance through their HMOs (health maintenance organization) or Anoka County. For more information call 763-489-3608.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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