Holiday Poinsettia Sale to Run Dec. 4-22 at Greenhouse on DHSS’ Herman Holloway Campus

The annual holiday sale of poinsettias grown at the greenhouse on the Department of Health and Social Services’ Herman Holloway Campus near New Castle will begin Dec. 4 and run through Dec. 22.

NEW CASTLE (Dec. 1, 2017) – The annual holiday sale of poinsettias grown at the greenhouse on the Department of Health and Social Services’ Herman Holloway Campus near New Castle will begin Dec. 4 and run through Dec. 22.
The greenhouse is operated by Bright Spot Urban Farm and proceeds from the sale of the 1,450 poinsettias grown this season will help support young people aging out of foster care and former clients of the Delaware Psychiatric Center. Bright Spot Farms was founded by West End Neighborhood House in Wilmington.
Available in red, white, pink and multiple specialty colors, the 6.5-inch pots are $9 each or $9.50 for specialty colors (Maroon, Ice Punch, Marble Star, Luv U Hot Pink and Gold Rush). For orders of more than 25 plants, the price is $8 for each plant. The larger plants in the 10-inch pots come in red, white and a mix of red and white and cost $30 each. The price includes a choice of the foil wrap on the pot (gold, red or green) and a plastic sleeve. Delivery is a flat fee of $7 in New Castle County, no matter the number of plants, and is slightly more in Kent or Sussex counties.
“Buying from Bright Spot Farms helps us to provide a hands-on teaching environment for our trainees,” said Sindhu Siva, program director at Bright Spot Farms. “We can’t provide a meaningful work training experience for our youth without a business, and we can’t run a business without the support of our customers. Our customers’ purchases from us are an investment in the futures of the young adults in our community.”

The Bright Spot Farms program includes up to nine months of training with an emphasis on soft skills such as punctuality, conflict resolution, a strong work ethic and on business-related job and financial skills such as using a cash register and maintaining inventory. The program also teaches horticultural skills through a curriculum developed by program staff and approved by the Delaware Nursery & Landscape Association. As part of the program, youth have the opportunity to obtain a food handlers’ certificate issued by Delaware’s Department of Agriculture.
The greenhouse is on the Herman Holloway Campus, 1901 N. DuPont Highway (U.S. 13) and is open to the public. Follow the signs for the greenhouse. The greenhouse will be open for walk-in sales Dec. 4-22. The hours are noon-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays. The greenhouse will be closed on Sundays. Bright Spot accepts cash, check or credit card.
Orders can be made online using the order form at Bright Spot’s website or by emailing For more information, call (302) 255-2993.

• A video about this year’s sale can be found at
• Photos of this year’s poinsettias are available to be downloaded at:


The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of life of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.

Buena Vista Holiday Open House on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017

-One-day-only event showcases one of Delaware’s most historic homes-

(DOVER, Del.—Nov. 29, 2017)—Delaware’s historic Buena Vista mansion will be decked out for a one-day-only holiday open-house on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature self-guided tours of the home, decorated for the holidays, plus crafts and other activities for children and adults, refreshments and a book drive hosted by the University of Delaware Pi Beta Phi sorority. Visitors are encouraged to bring books to benefit local schools through Read>Lead>Achieve! The event is free and open to the public. For additional information, call 302-323-4430.

Buena Vista Holiday Open House flyer

Located at 661 S. Dupont Highway (Route 13), southwest of New Castle, Buena Vista is one of Delaware’s most historic homes. The main section of the house was built between 1845 and 1847 by John M. Clayton, United States secretary of state from 1849 to 1850 under presidents Taylor and Fillmore, and United States senator from 1829 to 1836, 1845 to 1849, and 1853 until his death in 1856. The home later became the residence of C. Douglass Buck, governor of Delaware from 1929 to 1937 and United States senator from 1942 to 1948. Buena Vista and its grounds were donated to the state by the Buck family in 1965 and now serve as a conference/event center administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

Buena Vista
Buena Vista

Buena Vista: A Delaware Country Estate is administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, an agency of the State of Delaware. The division enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality and providing educational programs and assistance to the general public on Delaware history and heritage. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five museums which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, administration of the State Historic Preservation Office, conservation of the state’s archaeological and historic-objects collections, operation of a conference/event center and management of historic properties across the state. Primary funding for division programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, a federal agency. However, the contents and opinions expressed in the division’s programs and services do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.


Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-739-7787

11 People Died from Suspected Overdoses During Long Holiday Weekend; DSAMH Community Engagement Sessions Begin This Week

NEW CASTLE (Nov. 27, 2017) – Since Wednesday, 11 people have died in Delaware from suspected overdoses, raising the concern over the impact of the holidays on people who are in active use and prompting the Secretary of Health and Social Services to make an urgent plea for families to seek out a connection to treatment on behalf of their loved ones.

“We know that people who are suffering from addiction are vulnerable, and those vulnerabilities often become heightened during the holidays,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a board-certified family physician. “The holidays can be stressful and may be a trigger point for people struggling with substance use disorder. The most important thing that families can do is to help their loved ones find a connection to treatment and to get them to that initial intake.”

Of the 11 people who died from suspected overdoses, eight were in New Castle County, and three were in Kent and Sussex counties. The deaths involved both genders, ranging in age from 23 to 62. Through Nov. 26, the total number of deaths from suspected overdoses stands at 215.

Beginning this week, families will have an opportunity to connect with dozens of community partners as they participate in a series of free addiction-related community sessions hosted by the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH). The community sessions are an easy way for people to talk with treatment experts, learn about local services and supports, and have access to a training class on how to use the overdose-reversing medication naloxone. A Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health trainer will lead the naloxone training sessions at each event.

All community sessions are from 2-7 p.m. The schedule:

• Kent County: Thursday, Nov. 30, Delaware Technical Community College, Terry Campus, Corporate Training Center, 100 Campus Drive, Dover.
• New Castle County: Wednesday, Dec. 6, West End Neighborhood House, 710 N. Lincoln St., Wilmington.
• Sussex County: Thursday, Dec. 14, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus, Carter Partnership Center, 21179 College Drive, Georgetown.

Beyond the community sessions, Secretary Walker encouraged individuals in active substance use to see a medical provider immediately or call DHSS’ 24/7 Crisis Services Hotline to be connected to trained crisis professionals who can discuss treatment options. In Kent and Sussex counties, the number is 1-800-345-6785. In New Castle County, the number is 1-800-652-2929. Individuals and families also can visit DHSS’ website,, for addiction treatment and recovery services in Delaware and nearby states.
In 2016, 308 people died in Delaware from overdoses, up 35 percent from the 228 people who died in 2015.

For more information about the community engagement sessions, contact the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Training Office at 302-255-9480 or email


The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of life of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.

DHSS Adopt-A-Family Holiday Program Seeks Donors to Provide Gifts for Delaware Children, Families and Seniors in Need

NEW CASTLE (Nov. 16, 2017) – The Department of Health and Social Services’ Adopt-A-Family Holiday program is seeking donors to help make the holiday season a happier one for thousands of children, adults, people with disabilities and seniors in need in Delaware.

The Adopt-A-Family Holiday program anonymously matches donors to a senior, individual with a disability or a family with at least one child. In 2016, the Holiday Adopt-A-Family program, through the leadership of the Human Services Councils of New Castle County and Kent/Sussex counties, helped 1,927 Delawareans.

“It’s important those of us who have the ability to help others in need take the opportunity to do so, especially during this time of year,” said Gov. John Carney. “Donating through Adopt-A-Family’s Holiday program is a good way to make sure the needs of some of our fellow Delawareans are being met over the holidays.”

The deadline to “adopt” a family is Dec. 8, and all gift cards and gifts must be delivered to the Adopt-A-Family office by Dec. 15.

Adopt-A-Family provides the donor with the age and gender of each child in the family and a brief description of the circumstances that led to their need for assistance. The donor then provides gift cards for the head-of-household to use to purchase holiday gifts. The recommended minimum gift is $100 per child, with a gift card for the parent/guardian optional but thoughtful.

Those interested in adopting a senior or a person with a disability will be matched to an individual in need who is living in a nursing home or living alone receiving in-home care services. A wish list of things the individual enjoys, needs, or would appreciate, as well as clothing preferences and sizes, will be provided.

“Even as many Delawareans face their own struggles, they continue to show their generosity each year by giving to the Adopt-A-Family Holiday program and helping neighbors who find themselves in even more vulnerable positions,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of DHSS. “I am heartened by the true spirit of giving witnessed through this program.”

Families who are adopted are contacted by Adopt-A-Family to pick up their gift cards from their respective Adopt-A-Family office. Eligible recipients are referred to Adopt-A-Family by a social worker or case manager through state agencies and human service nonprofit organizations.

“Each year we find that many of our neighbors in need are referred to Adopt-A-Family through our State Service Centers, and other organizations, because of serious medical conditions, behavioral health challenges, domestic violence, homelessness and unemployment,” said Renée P. Beaman, Director of DHSS’ Division of State Service Centers, which operates the program. “The stories of those in need are poignant, and I am hopeful that my fellow Delawareans will respond generously.”

These circumstances serve as a sampling of the hundreds of individuals and families available for adoption this season.

• Single veteran father and teenage son experienced homelessness this past year, but were recently placed into permanent housing. Father is seeking employment. His 15-year-old son is active in school and loves football. This family would appreciate any assistance to brighten up their holiday.

• Mother and four children lost their apartment earlier this year. After staying with friends and in shelters, the family is now living with the children’s paternal grandfather. Family lost most of their belongings. Mom is working three part-time jobs as well as taking classes to become a certified medical assistant with a goal to complete the program by next year.

• Family of seven, including a new baby. Husband is no longer in the home due to domestic violence. In addition to her children, the mother is caring for her elderly mother who has stage 4 cancer. Mother is seeking resources and assistance to ensure her children can enjoy the holiday season despite their hardships this year.

• Family of eight. Grandmother recently gained custody of six grandchildren. The parents are not active in the children’s lives. Grandmother cannot work because she is the only caretaker of the children. Her 18-year-old daughter is still in school and helping with younger children when possible. Grandmother is struggling to keep her grandchildren out of foster care.

To “adopt” an individual or family, please contact:

• New Castle County: New Castle County Adopt-A-Family at 302-792-6150 or email Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Mail or drop off donations to this address: Adopt-A-Family, 3301 Green St., Claymont, DE 19703.

• Kent and Sussex counties: Kent and Sussex Adopt-A-Family at 302-424-7260 or email Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Mail or drop off donations to this address: Adopt-A-Family, 13 SW Front St., Milford, DE 19963.

After shopping for the residents, items can be dropped off at Adopt-A-Family offices in New Castle County (3301 Green St., Claymont) or Kent and Sussex counties (13 SW Front St., Milford). Donors will be given a code when they are matched to include with the gift cards or items when they drop them off so the Adopt-A-Family knows who should receive the items.

If you need to arrange an alternate “time” for delivery, please feel free to ask the Adopt-A-Family Team as they are able to make accommodations when needed.

The Adopt-A-Family program aids families in crisis – those struggling with illness, homelessness, domestic violence, poverty or unemployment – throughout the year. The program began in 1973 by Marge Meyerman and is coordinated by the Division of State Service Centers in all three counties.

For more information about Adopt-A-Family, go to the website or contact your nearest state service center.


The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of life of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.

Community Volunteers Needed to Sponsor Residents for the Holidays at Governor Bacon, Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill

NEW CASTLE (Nov. 3, 2017) – In keeping with the spirit of holiday giving, the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill (DHCI) in Smyrna and the Governor Bacon Health Center (GBHC) in Delaware City are asking members of the community to sponsor a resident at either nursing home operated by the Department of Health and Social Services. Since many residents have little family involvement or support, the two nursing homes rely on the generosity of community members including neighbors, local businesses, community organizations, and volunteers to help fulfill resident wishes at the holidays through the Adopt-A-Resident Program.

“Reaching out to the residents of the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill and the Governor Bacon Health Center is about lifting up our neighbors in need and showing that we care,” Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker said. “At the holidays, I can’t think of anything more important than that. Each year, we are grateful for the outpouring of support from the community for our residents at DHCI and Governor Bacon.”

Members of the community, as individuals or as groups, can participate in Adopt-A-Resident at Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill or Governor Bacon Health Center in one of three ways:

• Adopt-A-Resident: Sponsors are provided with the identification code and the wish list of a resident. The sponsor is asked to buy the wish list items and deliver them unwrapped in a gift bag to the Volunteer Services office at the facility of their choice. Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill is at 100 Sunnyside Road in Smyrna. Governor Bacon Health Center is at 248 Kent Ave., Delaware City.

• Monetary donation: Make a donation by gift card or check and leave the shopping to staff at DHCI or GBHC. Donations may be mailed to Volunteer Services office: Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill, 100 Sunnyside Road, Smyrna, DE, 19977 or Governor Bacon Health Center, P.O. Box 559, Delaware City, DE, 19706

• General donation: Buy items from the list of suggested gifts that we will email to you or you can pick up in the lobby at each facility. These items are utilized during the holidays to fill gift bags for residents who have not been adopted and also utilized throughout the year to fill resident birthday bags and special requests for residents.

To participate in Adopt-A-Resident, please email or call 302-223-1011 and let us know how you wish to help. Please also leave your name and best way to contact you.

We ask that the items be delivered by Monday, Dec. 4, to allow us time to update each nursing home’s list, do any last-minute shopping, and ensure every resident has a gift bag to open during the holidays. Gifts may be left at the facilities switchboard reception areas seven days a week.

“Each holiday season, so many people in the community step forward to make a difference in our residents’ lives,” said Jennifer Bobel, Volunteer Services Coordinator for DHCI and Governor Bacon. “I am always grateful for the generous spirit and the kindness of those who volunteer. On behalf of the residents and staff at our two nursing homes, we offer a genuine ‘thank you’ in return.”


The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of life of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.