Gig Harbor Rotary Helps Angels Spread Wings


Colleen Slater, KP News

The new 16-by-22 foot storage shed will help the work the Angel Guild accomplishes to benefit the whole KP community. Photo: Lisa Bryan, KP News

Key Peninsula resident Jeff Harris was at the Angel Guild in Key Center dropping off some things one day last year. He heard a volunteer mention needing more storage. 

“So I applied to the Rotary for a grant,” Harris said. “They liked the project proposal and supported it with $6,000 and a couple of Rotarians donating time and labor.” 

Harris also applied to the Home Depot Foundation for a grant. His efforts were rewarded with “a $1,100 grant, plus they are donating labor to the project to finish what’s necessary to complete the interior,” he said.

“We think it’s awesome. It’s going to give us a lot more space,” said Carla Parkhurst, manager of the Angel Guild Thrift Shop. “It’s going to house our holiday and Christmas things and we may be able to have enough space for another person to be out there working.” 

“If you’ve seen our current shed, you know we don’t have a lot of space to move around in there, so this will really help,” she said. 

Parkhurst has been with the Angel Guild for 13 years, the first five as a volunteer and the remaining as the coordinator. 

“We have about 55 women who volunteer; not all the time or every day––we have our different shifts. It’s a lot of women, a lot of help, but we really have a great time together,” Parkhurst said.

“We have so many people that depend on our shop for the basic necessities but others come just for the fun of visiting with each other and shopping,” she said. 

The sorters, who work in the shed, discard anything they wouldn’t personally want to wear or have in their own homes. The rest is put up for sale in the shop. The guild gives thousands of dollars each month to nonprofit community organizations.

“We are really grateful to the Rotary and all the volunteers who helped put up the shed,” said angel sorters Ean Chikasuye and Marlene Miles. They encourage people who donate to either park outside or at least have their donations sorted and ready to carry in. “Some of us can’t lift or carry big heavy bags,” Chikasuye said.

The Angel Guild was formed nearly 50 years ago to support the first medical clinic on the Key Peninsula. A group of women collected rummage sale items and organized fundraisers to help pay for the clinic run by Jeanne Brodsack, who liked to say her first patient was a cat.

According to the Guild’s history, George Rickert sat in the original shack holding donated rummage, enjoying his “cigareet” and talking about his angel of a wife.

“We should call this group Angel Guild,” Brodsack said at the time. Rickert’s daughters Shirl Olson and Marge Radonich, volunteer sorters that day, agreed and the Angel Guild was born.

Brodsack believed the attitude of the volunteers is what should be taught to the next generations—being involved in a worthwhile venture, salvaging discarded goods to be used again, and giving back to the community.