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Del Webb residents embrace clubs, volunteerism
Breast Cancer Pillow Workshop volunteer Marian Pistocchini cuts the cloth used to make a soft pink pillow for a breast cancer patient at Kaiser Permanente hospital in Manteca. The Del Webb group of volunteers has donated hundreds of pillows to Kaiser patients in less than two years. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

Hundreds of cancer patients at Kaiser Permanente hospital in Manteca have been the recipients of love and comfort from a handful of women at the Woodbridge at Del Webb community in Manteca.

These are women volunteers in Del Webb’s Breast Cancer Pillow Workshop. In less than two years, the dozen or so residents at this age-restricted community in north Manteca have been getting together at least once a month in the Del Webb’s arts and crafts room making soft and smooth pink pillows that are given to breast cancer patients at Kaiser to help them in their post-surgical recovery. The pillows are given to them right after surgery for physical as well as emotional comfort.

The pillow project was the brainchild of Del Webb resident Geri Rogers. She started making the pillows on her own. But as the hospital kept requesting for more pillows, the sewing workshop was born. The group jokingly refers to the arts and crafts room where they work as their “sweat shop.”

Rogers’ volunteerism does not stop at Del Webb. She also is a volunteer at Kaiser Hospital in Manteca where she was named Volunteer of the Year last year.

The pillow project is not the only volunteer avenue going on at Del Webb. Many of the retirees who live here are actively involved in various unpaid capacities in the community. Several articles in the Manteca Bulletin have chronicled the volunteer work they have done, and continue to do, at the Second Harvest Food Bank in Manteca. In fact, their involvement does not stop there. They have also donated plenty of canned goods to the food bank’s inventory.

Other Del Webb residents give to the community through their involvements in various groups whose mission is not only for socialization but also for philanthropic purposes. To name just a few of these groups: Men of Woodbridge, Women of Woodbridge, Del Webb garden club, a writer’s group, a veterans’ group, a band that plays during social events in the club house and at the annual National Night Out, and a sports group.

Each of these have held and sponsored various events that have raised money which were later donated to various charitable causes in the community. The Women of Woodbridge, for example, have held afternoon teas and wine and cheese tasting events with the money generated used to donate school items for students in need in the Manteca Unified School District. In the last few years, the Women of Woodbridge has also donated several thousand dollars each year to the Health Services Department of the school district. The money goes to help the homeless students in the district.

Several avid gardeners living at Del Webb have been members of the Manteca Garden Club as well. Through the years, many of them have helped in the annual Garden Tour sponsored by the club. Proceeds from this one and only fund-raiser held by the club each year go back to the community in the form of scholarships for high school students and beautification projects throughout the city such as the landscaping at the newly improved and expanded Manteca Library Park.

Woodbridge residents have raised over $40,000 for the Second Harvest Food Bank. They also provide a small army of volunteers each month to help the Manteca-based non-profit that distributes groceries to food closets throughout San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties as well as the Mother Lode to help with labeling. They also are involved with other community non-profits such as providing free tutoring for struggling kids through Give Every Child a Chance,