From candy to soap, Shelton firm carries on tradition of Easter baskets for needy children

SHELTON — As part of a longtime tradition, homeless children in the region will be getting an Easter surprise from the DiMatteo Group, and the organizers are hoping others will want to help.

DiMatteo Group Financial Services on Bridgeport Avenue is collecting needed items for its Easter basket drive, a program started two decades ago by company branch manager Kim DiMatteo.

Once collected, the DiMatteo team fills the Easter baskets with age-appropriate necessities for children ages birth to 3 and 13 to 17. The team then delivers them to the Norwalk Emergency Shelter, the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, both in Stamford and Norwalk, and Inspirica Inc. of Stamford.

“All in all, the program has lit lanterns in dark situations,” Jessica DiMatteo of DiMatteo Group Financial Services said.

“This program has shown the children in need that the people in the outside community are thinking of and supporting them,” Jessica DiMatteo said. “In terms of the centers, this program has been something that they look forward to, as it helps them economically, since they do not have to put money out for hygiene products.”

Since its inception, nearly 2,000 baskets have been put in the hands of thousands of area children. The baskets were assembled and donated by DiMatteo Financial, DiMatteo Insurance and ACBI Insurance, all in Shelton. Their employees, family, friends and clients and contributed to the annual community outreach project.

“Initially, I started the basket-giving program more than 20 years ago with my husband, John, and my three children, Anthony, Michael and Jessica,” Kim DiMatteo said. “Now it’s expanded into a much-anticipated annual tradition throughout Fairfield County.”

Jessica DiMatteo said people donate by ordering items through an Amazon list (https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/genericItemsPage/269E4ZYL6P9VF?ref_=wl_share) that they have put together, and having the items shipped to them. Orders should be shipped directly to DiMatteo Group Financial Services, 79, Bridgeport Ave., Unit 1, Shelton, CT 06484.

People can also contribute money, with checks made out to the DiMatteo Charitable Foundation.

Items need to be collected by March 29; baskets will be delivered April 2.

“It becomes busy when it is time to assemble the baskets, which we have always designated as the night before Good Friday,” Jessica DiMatteo said. “We lay out all of the donations, receive information from the centers with their current numbers of children and their age group, and move forward from there.”

DiMatteo Insurance supports many other local charities through the DiMatteo Family Charitable Foundation.

The foundation was established more than 15 years ago as a tribute to founder and late father Anthony “Tony” DiMatteo, who was battling cancer at the time. Since then, the foundation has contributed more than $412,000 for various local and national charities that fund research, education and finding a cure for diseases.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com