seniors toronto

Toronto plumber collects 2,600 holiday letters for seniors

Twenty-six hundred letters, pictures and "anything in between" have been collected by a Toronto plumber and his wife to give to seniors this holiday season.

Local plumber Geoff Burke is perhaps best known by Facebook users for his "How NOT to Call the Plumber" series, where he gives tips on home plumbing. Lately, though, he's been giving back to the community in even bigger ways.

It started with a candy chute challenge he spearheaded with his wife Angela last year during Halloween, which ended up raising $25,000 for Daily Bread Food Bank.

The couple started talking about what else they could do around the end of November, and came up with a concept they called their "Smile Drive."

"With so much uncertainty again this year, we were trying to think of the best way to bring a smile to as many people's faces as we could," Burke tells blogTO.

"We knew that residents of long term care homes had an especially tough few years, so we thought this would be a great thing to do with and for the community."

They asked as many community members as possible to write letters and draw pictures or do anything they could think of that would inspire a smile, and collected them to deliver to long-term care homes.

A tidal wave of responses came from letter clubs, where members wrote hundreds of letters, entire classes and schools, Girl Guides and coffee shops. Community members also acted as drop-off hubs for letters to be collected for pickup.

In the end, the 2,600 letters and pictures collected were enough to give one to each resident at 16 long term care homes.

"We try to do something for the community every year," says Burke. "So we'll have to see what initiative we can come up with next time."

Lead photo by

Geoff Burke


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