Delaney Gallagher is driven to provide the basic winter essentials each homeless adult deserves, which honors their dignity. She created “Long Johns for St. John’s” two years ago to provide long johns and other warming items for the most vulnerable in our community. Since the campaign was created, hundreds of items have been donated and thousands of dollars have been raised.
St. John’s Ministries recently concluded its 17th shelter season, and as the organization reflects on its essential work—it is Gallagher’s campaign that has so much meaning.
Gallagher, a junior at Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay, is the founder and visionary behind the campaign, which started in October 2020. Her efforts have garnered 2,600 warming items and over $8,700 in monetary donations. During the 2021-22 winter season she fundraised $7,000 in monetary donations. Further supporting her efforts was a grant from the Pollination Project (in partnership with The Canary Fund) to help with the purchase of additional warming items.
The young leader recounts having grown personally during the two seasons she has run the “Long Johns for St. John’s” campaign. She is advocating for a cause she believes in, balancing the successful fundraiser with work, sports and school. In addition, she has learned to confidently speak to supporters and community members.
She says, “Most importantly, I have learned to be thankful for all the blessings in my life and that the positive feeling I gain when helping others is one that exceeds all other types of joy. It feels so rewarding to know I am helping better the lives of those in our community.” It is a career path she says she may consider in the future.
Looking ahead to next year’s campaign, Gallagher has outlined several goals. First, to advocate to even more community members, reminding them of the challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness and housing instability, and giving them an opportunity to join her in making a difference. Second, to collect even more warming items than this year. And finally, but most importantly, she says, “to send the message to even more of St. John’s guests that our community cares about them and wants to make their winter more manageable. We aim to warm their bodies, but also their hearts with the love and kindness our community has for them!”