By Barbara Allen, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Francesca “Cessy” Bombara likes to be busy. The Northborough resident divides her time between the Northborough Garden Club, where she serves as co-president with Amy Graham, and the Friends of Northborough Seniors, where she is secretary on the Board of Directors. She is also corresponding secretary for the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, Inc., and runs a small, private business out of her home for close friends and family, “Flowers by Francesca.”
“I’m a true flower lover,” Bombara said.
She first joined the Northborough Garden Club when she moved to town 20 years ago. Prior to relocating to Massachusetts, she had been active in garden clubs in her native New York. Even though she was a newcomer, both to town and to the organization, Bombara remembers the warm reception the club gave her.
“Immediate friendships,” Bombara recalled. “The people have been just a pleasure.”
Bombara enthusiastically embraced membership in the Northborough Garden Club, serving as president three times, in addition to this year’s co-presidency.
Town beautification has always been a big part of the Northborough Garden Club’s mission. Recent projects have included plantings at the Historical Society, Fire and Police stations, stone planters at the town line, the Shattuck Pharmacy planter, and the St. Rose of Lima Memorial Garden.
“Maintenance of the projects after they are done is our biggest physical challenge,” Bombara admitted. “Some of us are getting older.”
The group hopes that they will eventually be able to enlist the assistance of the Department of Public Works to keep those sites beautiful.
Meetings of the Northborough Garden Club take place monthly at the Senior Center, 119 Bearfoot Road. Bombara encouraged anyone interested to drop in.
“There is something of interest for everyone,” she said. Meetings usually include workshops or a speaker, as well as planning for the group’s two major annual fundraisers: Holiday Enchantment in November and the plant sale in May. The Northborough Garden Club also offers a scholarship every year to a Northborough high school student whose area of planned study will have a science, conservation or horticultural focus.
Five years ago, Bombara found herself at the Senior Center for another reason; a friend asked her to serve on the Board of Directors for the Friends of Northborough Seniors.
“It’s a great organization,” Bombara said. The Friends of Northborough Seniors is committed to fundraising to meet the needs of older adults that might not be covered by the amount budgeted to the Council on Aging and Senior Center, such as fuel assistance or the repair of the Senior Center’s piano, or special luncheon programs.
“I know Cessy through her work with Friends of Northborough Seniors as well as [through her role] as co-president of the Garden Club,” said Kelly Burke, director of the Northborough Senior Center. “She is enthusiastic, helpful and delightful to work with.”
The Friends organize a different fundraising event each month; Bombara was especially pleased with the success of September’s Spectacular Fashion Show and High Tea.
“The entire room at the Senior Center was filled,” recalled Bombara, who was the “Mistress” of Ceremonies for the program.
She also loved the camaraderie among the committee members who put together the event. But, for Bombara, it is more about the seniors who benefit from their work.
“I like what we do because we are helping people,” she said.