Flamborough Connects delivers more joy than ever with Holiday Gift Program

By Mac Christie News Editor
Friday, December 29, 2023

Flamborough Connects delivers more joy than ever with holiday gift program. Demand for gifts nearly doubled in 2023, says Stinson.Program provides gifts to 142 low-income older adults and adults living with a disability this year

Colleen Stinson, executive director of Flamborough Connects, is surrounded by gift bags from the 2022 holiday gift program. This year saw nearly double the number of clients, with 142.

Julia Lovett-Squires Metroland file photo
Mac Christie Metroland

Flamborough Connects brought gifts to more low-income older adults than ever before with its annual holiday gift program in 2023. The program, which anonymously matches low-income older adults and adults who identify as a living with a disability with gift donors, had 74 clients in 2022. This year, it nearly doubled the number of clients to 142. Flamborough Connects executive director Colleen Stinson said the program would not have been successful without the dedication of the community. “We had so many volunteers coming forward from the community to buy and donate gifts for all of these people,” she said, adding they also had some corporate sponsors step forward. “We accomplished the most amazing things with the holiday gift program this year.” Stinson said one of the most touching comments they received from clients about the program is how nice it was to know someone was thinking about them at Christmas. “So many of the people are seniors, are alone, they’re vulnerable, they’re isolated and they might be celebrating with no one this year.”

In order to be eligible, clients must be over the age of 55 or living with a disability, and have an income below $35,000 for a single person or below $45,000 for a couple. Clients are asked for three wish list items and the recipient is then matched with an anonymous donor. The donor chooses which wish list item they want to buy for the client, who also remains anonymous. Gifts generally cost between $50 to $100. The organization expected an uptick in need this year, but the increase outstripped their expectations, forcing Flamborough Connects to put out a call to the community in late November. “It was a little higher than we thought,” Stinson said of the need. “But because of the generosity of the community we were able to reach out to people — even if we hadn’t connected with them through wish lists.”

Flamborough Connects executive director Colleen Stinson thanks the organization’s volunteers at the annual holiday coffee break Dec. 20. Flamborough Connects had a busy year — including delivering 142 gifts to low-income older adults as part of the holiday gift program.
Mac Christie Metroland

Stinson said it was amazing to be able to support so many older adults in the community. “The holiday gift program is my most favourite thing that we do,” she said. “The rewards are so intense — I just love it. I can’t wait until next year.”
The holiday gift program capped off a busy year for the organization, Stinson said at Flamborough Connects’ annual holiday coffee break — an event to thank volunteers on Dec. 20. During the course of the year, Flamborough Connects volunteers completed 257 income tax filings for low-income clients, saw 235 people attend older adult education sessions, held 214 Wheel of Fitness classes and completed 140 Flamborough Drives trips.

As well, volunteers completed 417 Flamborough Shops and food bank deliveries, and saw Snow Angels volunteers shovel 72 driveways and sidewalks, in addition to other programs. Stinson said they would not be able to run their community programs without their “amazing” community volunteers and donors. “We couldn’t do any of what we do without the help of all of you,” she told the volunteers. “Thank you so much. We have lots of exciting things in store for 2024.”

Mac Christie
Mac Christie is the Flamborough Review’s news editor. He is an award-winning journalist, who writes about anything and everything within Flamborough. Reach him at mchristie@flamboroughreview.com.

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163 Dundas Street East Waterdown, Ontario Mailing address: P.O. Box 240, L0R 2H0 admin@flamboroughconnects.ca 905.689.7880 1.800.297.3427

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