SCRANTON – A Saint Patrick’s Day tradition continued in Lackawanna County this year despite the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 16 and 17, volunteers from the Shamrock Heart Foundation gathered at the Diocesan Pastoral Center in Scranton to prepare 4,500 green carnations to be delivered to nearly 50 nursing homes, assisted living centers and hospitals in Lackawanna County.

“I like helping people,” Matisse MacLeod, 12, said as she prepared carnations on her birthday with her mother and siblings by her side.

The MacLeod family of Madison Township realizes that because of lockdowns, many of the seniors receiving the carnations have struggled with isolation over the past year.

“People can’t visit them as easily so at least they’ll have something,” MacLeod explained.

Volunteers wore masks and gloves while they prepared all the green carnations on March 16. On Saint Patrick’s Day morning, two dozen drivers then departed the Pastoral Center to spread some Irish cheer.

“I think it’ll make a big impact this year. Even though it’s been well received in other years, I think this year it will really brighten somebody’s day even more,” volunteer Cindy Cramer of Scranton said.

Cramer, who is Irish, has been volunteering with the Shamrock Heart Foundation for the least five years.

“I’m glad they were able to find a way to continue to do it this year,” she said.

This was the 28th annual carnation distribution for the Shamrock Heart Foundation.