Resident Rallies for a Community That Cares

Backpack Donations Heron s Key

Heron’s Key resident Anne Delaney has a giving heart. Through continued volunteerism and service, she has made an impact on many individuals, organizations and communities. Anne has shared this philanthropic nature with Heron’s Key since 2017 when she became a chairperson of the Volunteer Group. In this role—along with the chair from Penrose Harbor and other volunteers—she spearheads events and drives on campus, and is constantly encouraging new ways to give back to the Gig Harbor, Washington, community.

“The Heron’s Key community is very giving,” Anne says. “It takes someone to organize the events, but a lot of the people here help and donate.”

The Volunteer Group organizes several annual drives at Heron’s Key, which allows residents to give back throughout the year. There are even friendly competitions among the residents while they support a good cause. On March 17, the community hosted its annual food drive for Food Backpacks 4 Kids, an organization that works to meet the nutritional needs of hungry and food-insecure children and their families from Key Peninsula and Gig Harbor. Each residence—floor, cottage and Penrose Harbor—had a table set up to accept monetary and food donations while competing among one another for a root beer float party that was earned by the cottages for 2022.

“This year we raised $7,000 and donated 455 pounds of food,” Anne says. “The people are just delighted, and everyone’s hearts are really giving. It’s a huge group effort.”

In the fall, they hold the annual food drive for Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH Food Bank, while a blood drive is scheduled for June. The Volunteer Group also organizes an annual Thanksgiving Tree, which is a tree adorned with leaves including information on gifts that children experiencing homelessness and hardship would like to receive for the holidays. Residents choose a leaf and then buy the present for the child.

Twice a year, the group makes fleece hats for the Tacoma Rescue Mission, which offers meals and emergency shelter for men and families with children. “This past year we made 72 hats. We have a group here that donates the fleece, then a group that cuts them out and sews them,” Anne says.

In February, for the first time at Heron’s Key, Anne organized a clothing drive for the Washington Corrections Center for Women. When Anne retired to Gig Harbor over two decades ago, she began volunteering at the prison and started a clothing closet so the women had outfits when returning to their communities. COVID-19 has all but eliminated the program because volunteers have not been allowed at the facility. Anne heard they needed clothing and sprang into action by setting up a drive at Heron’s Key for coats and shoes that were then donated to the prison.

“When I started the clothes closet, we used to give them several outfits,” says Anne, “but COVID has really changed so many things.” She adds, “That was my passion for years, and I like that we were able to dress them and give clothes.”

Prior to the pandemic, members from the Volunteer Group also participated in a mentoring program with local schools. Anne is hopeful that the program will resume one day, because it helps children with studies such as literacy and mathematics, and it provides another person who cares for them. Anne says, “Kids need all the caring they can get.”