IODE’s 2017 Citizenship award finds a worthy home

March 16, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

The individual behind the immensely popular Senior’s Santa Christmas Hampers program in Dufferin County has been honoured for her “huge heart” and “selflessness” after guiding the initiative to a successful eighth season.

Tracey Haworth was announced as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Lord Dufferin IODE Citizenship Award at a special ceremony held Feb. 27. There, members of the local organization commended Tracey for bringing such an important program to the fore in Dufferin County.

“This award is so very well deserved. Tracey is a wonderful person who works incredibly hard each and every year to make this program a reality in all of our communities. She brings hundreds of smiles to people’s faces with her kindness and compassion over the festive period,” noted Dufferin IODE spokesperson Leslie McMahon.

Launched in 2010, the Senior’s Santa Christmas Hampers program was born from Tracey’s love of her 84-year-old mother Margaret Bunce. Realizing there were many seniors, most residing in assisted-living facilities, who go without at Christmas time, Tracey felt it was important to plug the gap and make everyone feel special during the most special time of the year.

“This really was just a dream. I woke up in a panic at 4 a.m. one night, thinking about how awesome it would be to help out our seniors. We have toy drives, food drives, but really nothing in place to put a smile on seniors’ faces on Christmas,” Ms. Haworth said. “Now, no senior will be forgotten. That is what this program is all about.”

It was a record-breaking year in 2017 for the organization, which delivered over 1,000 hampers for the first time in its history. With seven facilities located in Orangeville, Grand Valley and Shelburne, it takes the best part of a month for Tracey and her five main volunteers to gather, package and deliver the hampers. They fill out requests weeks ahead of time and even take last-minute requests, right up to Christmas Eve, Tracey says. This year, for the first time ever, the Senior’s Santa Christmas Hampers program was also able to help the Salvation Army meet its quota of 200 hampers delivered in Dufferin.

“I’m not in this for the recognition, I’m not in this for the awards, although this one is amazing and means so, so much. I’m in this to make a difference and put smiles on people’s faces on Christmas,” Ms. Haworth said. “This program is my passion. I live and breathe this program. I’m extremely proud of my community. If they didn’t stand behind and believe in me, this wouldn’t be possible.”

She added, “This isn’t my program, this is my community’s program. I just help to steer the ship. It’s been eight amazing years so far, but we can’t rest on our laurels. We have to keep working to ensure that next year is bigger and better once again.

For more information on the Senior’s Santa Christmas Hamper program visit

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