Del Mar Garden Club named DMCC’s ‘Volunteer of the Month’

Project Joy volunteers
Project Joy volunteers (starting from top left going clockwise): Tanya Young, Jill Gartman, Ann Feeney, Randee Warren, Linda Addison, and Mara Bickett
(Kara Adams)

Not one, but many, members of the Del Mar Garden Club are being honored this month as “Volunteer of the Month” by Del Mar Community Connections. The Del Mar Garden Club is well known for its many projects that have beautified the Del Mar community over the last few decades. Starting in 2020 and continuing into 2021, DMGC branched out during the holiday season to assist Del Mar Community Connections with bringing some love to senior citizens in the community. They have done such an incredible job with the partnership, now called “Project Joy,” that DMCC board member Nicole Holliday nominated them for Volunteer of the Month – the first time a group or organization has been awarded with the designation.

The Del Mar Garden Club was founded in 1989 by Marnie Mahoney along with a group of friends residing in 92014 who loved gardening. Mahoney’s idea was to have meetings and field trips, keeping it “simple, informative and fun.” The club has done many community projects over the years, and today you may see members maintaining five gardens around Del Mar: the library, the post office, Crest Rim, the Del Mar Community Building (DMCC’s headquarters), and the 15th Street medians. The club has 45 members. According to DMGC president Mara Bickett, “Being outside in nature, touching plants, touching soil, feeling the sunshine and breeze and smelling the earth, flowers, foliage… there is a big endorphin surge! Also, we socialize, get some exercise and vitamin D, and make the world a more beautiful place.”

In December 2020, when Covid cases were suddenly spiking again, DMCC had to quickly pivot from a planned drive-through holiday party to a safer way to spread holiday cheer. The Del Mar Garden Club stepped in at the last minute to make gift deliveries. The act of helping DMCC cheered up the DMGC members during a rough time, and they came forward again in 2021 to formally begin Project Joy as a Del Mar holiday tradition. “We felt Project Joy would be fun not only for the recipients but also the Garden Club members. Turns out we were correct!” says Project Joy leader Jill Gartman. Project Joy volunteers brought great ideas to the table, designed a beautiful gift that included a wax amaryllis bulb and a small box of chocolates, and provided the volunteers to assemble and deliver the gifts. Their efforts resulted in some very cheerful seniors.

DMCC partner organizations supplement DMCC’s efforts in the community by rallying their organization’s talents and interests to benefit senior citizens. Gartman says of working with DMCC, “Everyone we interact with is gracious, and DMCC provides a vital service to senior members of the Del Mar community.” To learn more about the Del Mar Garden Club, visit To learn more about volunteer or partner opportunities with DMCC and past volunteers of the month, visit