In just four-and-a-half hours, Aven Manor sold out its Tree of Giving holiday campaign. 

The initiative, launched Tuesday, invites community members to sponsor a senior and provide a gift for them under the Aven Christmas tree. 

In the retirement centre’s second year of the initiative, CEO Daryl Dolynny said he was “touched” by the community’s generosity. 

Aven Manor staff gather prior to distributing gifts in last year’s Tree of Honour campaign. Standing, from left, Sandra Walsh, Sara Fullerton, Lindsey Dwojak, Emily Harman, Steven Nicholas, Agatha Barraquio, Frances Bower, Zahra Sadki, Cathy Fabien, Mazin Ahmed, Lawrence Malaque and Mercedes Tuerto. Sitting, from left, Ann Claire Russel, Daryl Dolynny, Carol Norwegian, Natallia Salodkina, Cecielle Valerio and Alice Villanueva.
photo courtesy of Daryl Dolynny

Ahead of the launch, the team at Aven asked the 54 residents what they wanted for the holidays. When prospective donors emailed them, Aven replied with a resident’s request and background information on their interests to make the exchange more personal. 

“Not all of the residents have immediate family and some have no family members at all,” Dolynny said, adding that a little goes a long way for the seniors. 

The Aven Manor Christmas tree before donated gifts were handed out during the inaugural Tree of Giving campaign in 2019.
photo courtesy of Daryl Dolynny

Along with their gifts for the residents, Dolynny said he was heartened to see many of last year’s donors throw in extra treats for recipients and even personal photos. 

“As a CEO, I walk the halls and talk to residents and a lot of them still have their photos from last year,” he said.

As Aven is unable to run its usual silent auction and bake sale sale this year due to Covid, the Tree of Giving campaign is also inviting monetary donations to support recreational activities throughout the year. 

One such activity is the retirement centre’s annual Christmas dinner. Though, this year, family will have to join Aven residents virtually to avoid health risks during the pandemic.

Though all residents have been accounted for with Christmas gifts, Aven will continue to accept donations until Dec. 11. 

The retirement centre is working towards raising $10,000. Dolynny said the organization is already halfway there.  

“Launching these events in the middle of crises, we really don’t know what to expect,” he said. “We’re very thankful that the community has come out in spades for our seniors in a very tough time.”


Natalie Pressman

Natalie is a graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program. She has since held contracts working with an NGO in Vietnam and with Journalists for Human Rights in Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent...

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