National Make a Difference Day happens this month


Staff Report

On Oct. 25, millions of Americans across the nation will come together in a common mission to improve their communities.

On this day, the Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula community will come together too, for the second annual “GHKP Make A Difference Day” (MDD) celebration of its own.

The Greater Gig Harbor Foundation will host the second annual celebration event in collaboration with the City of Gig Harbor and Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s BOSS program volunteers at PenMet Parks Sehmel Homestead Park.

The Greater Gig Harbor Foundation, working together with leaders from organizations like the Key Peninsula Family Resource Center, PenMet Parks, Gig Harbor Fish Food Bank, Harbor WildWatch, Thanksgiving Basket Brigade, KP Community Council, Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Club, and many others has planned the local campaign at Volunteer Vern Pavilion at Sehmel Homestead Park and at the Food Market in Key Center.

The event hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., organizers said.

According to event co-chairwoman Lynda Filson, the foundation's five Core Area Boards (CABs) will be represented and partner organizations will be engaged to make a difference in our community.

“This event will physically bring people from our community together. At the MDD local campaign headquarters at Sehmel Homestead Park they can make a financial donation, deliver food, school supplies and winter clothing, and volunteer with area organizations, or sign up to receive needed services from these same area organizations,” said Julie Gustanski, foundation past president.

Filson said this year there will also be an attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the largest maze of donated canned food. All area schools, community businesses, organizations and families are invited to bring their non-perishable food contributions to help build the maze in the park, she said.

“The challenge is on –– and it’s a great opportunity for children have fun while learning to give and care for others in their community,” Filson said.

Also new this year is a drop off site on the Key Peninsula for non-perishable food, school supplies, eye glasses, winter clothing and new toys and new clothes for children’s holiday gifts next to the Food Market in Key Center.

Building on the success of the first GHKP Make A Difference Day, Filson said they are hoping to double what was accomplished in 2013.

• Registered 85 volunteers for community agencies

• Participation of 15 non-profit agencies

• Collected 400 pounds of food and over $10,000 for area food bank organizations.

• Distributed many coats and blankets for those that need warmth in the winter months

During the event, people can sign up to donate time, food and other vital resources, or learn about access to resources to help meet diverse family needs, Filson added.

“Making a big difference is the result of many people making little differences,” said Joel Wingard, president of The Greater Gig Harbor Foundation. “Participating in the GHKP Make A Difference Day raises awareness and helps meet the needs of our communities.”

For information, to sign up as a volunteer or apply for a booth, call (253) 514-6338. or email