Del Mar Community Connections celebrates 20 years of service to local seniors

Photographed before the pandemic, Del Mar Community Connections members take part in many different trips and events.

The nonprofit won’t be able to have the 20th anniversary celebration it hoped for, but Del Mar Community Connections continues to adapt to the new pandemic-induced realities and serve local senior citizens.

“If you can help somebody age comfortably in the home that they love rather than go to a congregate living setting, it’s never been more important to keep a senior safe that way,” said Ashley Simpkins, DMCC’s program director who has been with DMCC for about three years.

DMCC received proclamations from the city of Del Mar and San Diego County in commemoration of its 20 years of service.

“DMCC is a small, community-based organization,” Simpkins said. “It’s grassroots, it was created by neighbors who just wanted to make a difference and we’re a small business.”

Since it started in August 2000, DMCC has been providing services to help senior citizens age in place and activities to give them things to look forward to. The organization hosts health and wellness lectures that draw up to 100 people, trips to museums and small but passionate book club meetups of three or four seniors.

Simpkins added that “over the last few years, we’ve really built out an incredibly robust schedule, things that serve all kinds of interests.”

After the pandemic led to shelter-in-place orders, DMCC also began grocery shopping services for local seniors and making sure they have other essential items, which has allowed them to stay home and minimize their chances of becoming infected.

“Everything has changed so much because of COVID-19 that basically we changed all our operations overnight in March, and we built out a whole new infrastructure for this organization,” Simpkins said.

Zoom events, including sing-a-longs and a recent lecture by a UC San Diego historian about previous pandemics, have filled DMCC’s schedule.

The new normals created by the pandemic will likely lead to long-term changes in DMCC services, activities and other operations.

“I think going forward, we’re going to see kind of a hybrid when things settle back to whatever the new normal is,” Simpkins said.

Ten of DMCC’s founders are still alive and living in Del Mar, she added, and the nonprofit continues to stay true to its community roots.

“Even though we have a couple of full-time employees and a handful of part-time employees, really the organization is guided by and overseen by volunteers and the vast majority of the labor is from volunteers because that’s the spirit of the Del Mar community, that people jump in and help their neighbors,” Simpkins said.
For more information on Del Mar Community Connections, visit