Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Michele Ayoub


Michele Ayoub has been donating Mother’s Day tulips to Staying Put in New Canaan members since the start of the pandemic, according to the popular nonprofit organization.

Michele Ayoub delivering tulips to Staying Put in New Canaan on April 30, 2024. Contributed

A mom who appreciated the support she received from neighbors during her pregnancy and baby-rearing, Ayoub began growing the flowers as Mother’s Day gifts for those same neighbors, as well as family and friends, and even threw a “tulip party,” according to Gina Blum, executive director of Staying Put. 

The annual yield is now up to some 3,000 to 4,000 tulips “that she plants every year and during COVID she did not have the party, so she found Staying Put in New Canaan and other organizations who deliver them to seniors, and she continued with us each year,” Blum said by way of nominating Ayoub for the “Quiet Heroes” series.

New Canaan legend Jim Bach happily receives his gift of flowers from Michele Ayoub via Staying Put in New Canaan. Contributed

Founded in 2008, Staying Put in New Canaan helps local seniors live independent, active and engaged lives as they grow older. (The organization’s “Summer Soirée” will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 6 at Waveny House—details and tickets here.)

According to Robin Bates-Mason, Staying Put’s manager of events and volunteers, the organization gets calls from its members thankful for the flowers.

“They’re so appreciative of it and how pretty and unique they [the tulips] are,” Bates-Mason said. “Who doesn’t love getting flowers?”

Blum said Ayoub’s thoughtfulness and generosity with the tulips and Staying Put started before her own tenure at the organization. 

“She’s so incredibly generous and community-minded and caring about seniors, about women,” Blum said. “It’s really remarkable that she’s got such a generous and giving spirit and is so appreciative of being a mother and what motherhood means.”

[Editor’s Note: This is a new installment of our periodic “Quiet Heroes” series. We’re accepting nominations for it, see guidelines here and ignore the COVID reference.]

3 thoughts on “Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Michele Ayoub

  1. Michele and her family were godsends during Covid. They brought truckloads of tulips to Staying Put, which were put in vases and delivered to over 200 members. The drop-off was a wonderful opportunity for volunteers who wanted to help to interact with seniors during a very challenging time. For some, the doorstop visit was their only contact all week!

  2. Michele is an amazing human being! I had the pleasure of getting to know her and becoming a friend when she orchestrated Zumba for a Cause and raised over 100k over a period of about 10 years for local charities through her classes and events! Always an emphasis on helping families, women and children as well as Pink events for breast cancer awareness and fundraising.

  3. Thank you Michele Ayoub for the beautiful variety of glorious tulips. They lasted sooo long and brought a smile 😊 to my face…Wishing you a happy gardening season.

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