This holiday season will find homes all over Rome decorated with some of the most vibrant colors of the season.

One item that brings those colors into local homes is a poinsettia, but not just any poinsettia. A must-have for many area residents are poinsettias from the Junior Service League. Purchase of the plants helps supports thousands of local school children.

Every year, Rome’s Junior Service League members sell hundreds of brightly colored poinsettia plants, and many Rome residents aren’t aware of just how much the plants mean to the community.

“This past year we did about $16k from the poinsettia sales and put that toward League for Learning,” said JSL’s Public Relations Chair Bess Graham. “Through that program we buy school supplies for more than 2,500 local students in elementary, primary and middle schools.

Through the program, local schools give the JSL a list of much needed items for students, such as as rulers, pencils and notebooks — things that are absolutely necessary but that many of the kids may not be able to afford. Thanks to Rome residents who buy poinsettias, JSL can then purchase all the items each school needs.

“It’s a really important fund raiser for us,” Graham said. “What we don’t use toward school supplies will go to our community partners for that year.”

Each year local organizations apply for JSL’s community partnership program and receive funding and volunteer assistance for that year. In the past, those organizations have included the Boys and Girls Club, Chieftain’s Museum, Hospitality House and the William S. Davies Homeless Shelter.

There’s still time to order poinsettias this year. They come in red, pink, ivory and a new color — Picasso.

“Picasso seemed very popular last year,” Graham said. “So we switched from marble to Picasso. We think people will enjoy all the colors and they’re all big and beautiful.”

Graham said Rome residents don’t just buy the beautiful plants for their own homes. They often buy them as gifts for friends and relatives, or do donate to nursing homes, hospitals and churches.

Poinsettias start at $11 for 6-inch plants, medium ones (8 inches) are $17 and the largest (10 inches) are $22. Those wishing to order have until Nov. 19 to do so. Poinsettias can be ordered online at www.jslofrome.com or from a JSL representative. Once ordered, poinsettias can be picked up at the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds on Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free local delivery is available for orders over $150 and orders are tax deductible.

Graham said the poinsettias have a special place in her heart. At her wedding two years ago, the bright red plants adorned the altar at the ceremony, while the ivory variety was used at the reception.

“They’re gorgeous and the community definitely supports us with this,” she said. “I think since we kick off the sale right before Halloween, a lot of people aren’t thinking of decorating for Christmas yet, but you don’t wanna wait too long. Now’s the time to buy and the money goes right back into our community.

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