Kate’s Corner: Candis Gillette Brightens up the Senior Center with Flowers

Also known as the “Flower Fairy,” Candis Gillette is brightening up the lives of those who frequent the local senior centers. For more than five years, the Trader Joe’s employee has been gathering all the unpurchased flowers from the Saugus store and delivering them to several different locations, cheering up others along the way.

Members of the senior center gather around the table of flowers with Candis Gillette (center) (the “Flower Fairy”) holding her dog Coco.

Her first stop is the Bob DeLeo Senior Center, where she faithfully arrives at 10 a.m. every Monday with her pup Coco by her side.

“If there are leftover flowers after my first stop, I head to the PACE program on Sturgis Street,” said Gillette, who sticks around and engages in conversation about flowers with the members, often offering her expertise on how to clip and trim them to increase the lifespan of the arrangements. “From there, I head to Revere and East Boston, depending on what I have left over.”

In addition to a simple smile, the weekly dose of flowers are used differently and some keep them for their own pleasure, while others deliver them to friends and family members in need of cheering up.

“I love that the staff and members love flowers and often tell me it makes their week,” said Gillette, who has lived in Winthrop for 35 years. “There’s a few PACE programs I share with when there’s more than the Center can use. I also bring my dog which adds a little more fun to the trips.”

The members of the Center couldn’t be more thrilled with Gillette’s weekly visit and they are grateful for being on the receiving end of her kindness.

“I got an amaryllis that lasted forever,” said senior center member, Joanne Troisi, as she assesses a new bouquet during Monday morning’s delivery.

Trader Joe’s donates food and flowers to non-profits every day and the store has assigned agencies they share with. When Gillette noticed that sometimes the flowers were not being picked up and would end up being composted, she offered to take them to the senior center and eventually she had a permanent day and pickup and delivery time. Gillette credits Laurie O’Neill, fellow Trader Joe’s employee, who gets the bundles of flowers ready for her Monday morning pickup every week.

“Sometimes all the flowers need is a little extra love and they’ll last a long time,” said Gillette.

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