The Mustard Seed Project was founded by Edie Morgan in 2006. As an experienced long-term care social worker, she found her true mission – help the elders of Key Peninsula age in place.

In 2007, The Mustard Seed Project of Key Peninsula (TMSP) was incorporated to meet the needs of seniors in the community.

Fiscal sponsorship was provided by the Franciscan Foundation, and a generous start-up grant from Catholic Health Initiatives.
In 2011, TMSP became an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization.
A partnership with Catholic Community Services was established next to bring their volunteer driver program to the Key Peninsula.

Over the years TMSP has grown exponentially, thanks to strong community support and engagement in our work.

Today, our seven staff members, interns, 100+ volunteers, and our partners, provide a wide array of services.

Every year TMSP serves about 800 individuals through an average of 4,000 instances of services.

Now, to complete the continuum of a truly elder-friendly community, TMSP is building the only assisted living home for our seniors on the Key Peninsula. The assisted living home, Mustard Seed Village, will be opening at the end of 2022!

Learn More About The Mustard Seed Project


Learn More About The Mustard Seed Staff

Eric Blegen

Eric Blegen

Executive Director

Eric Blegen started as Executive Director in 2018, bringing 20 plus years of nonprofit leadership experience to the role; including experience managing capital campaigns and projects. Building on his interest in connecting people with the resources they need to grow and thrive even in challenging situations, the Mustard Seed Project’s mission of supporting seniors inspires him.

From an early age, he’s been drawn to learning from older folks and has a soft spot for seniors (and soon will be one!), as well as a commitment to ensuring that seniors are treated with respect and honored for their life experiences.

He is a Wisconsin native and has lived in western Washington since 1989, living with his spouse, 10-year-old son, two Chocolate Labs, and 14 chickens in Union, WA.


Maureen Reilly

Maureen Reilly

Operations Director

Maureen joined TMSP in 2015 as the Transportation Coordinator, moved on to become the Office and Facilities Coordinator in 2017 and was promoted to Operations Director in 2018. Maureen has 20+ years of Office and Property Management experience and has a master of Science in Microbiology. She has lived in 4 countries on 3 continents and has many years of experience interacting with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

Maureen is the Immediate Past President of the Friends of Key Center Library and the current Board President of Key Pen Parks and Recreation Foundation. She is also a member of the Puget Sound Grant Writers Association. In her spare time, Maureen enjoys working with the alpacas, goats and dogs who inhabit the property she shares with her husband, Jim.


Julie Crane

Julie Crane

Programs Manager

Julie received her Bachelor of Arts degree in human services from Western Washington University. After college, she completed two years of service with the AmeriCorps program, one year with Tacoma-Pierce County Habitat for Humanity and one year with the National Civilian Community Corps based in Denver, CO. Prior to joining the Mustard Seed Project in June 2021, Julie was a social worker at a Skilled Nursing Facility in the Transitional Care Unit.

Julie and her family moved from Seattle to Port Orchard in 2019. In her free time, Julie enjoys doing yoga, kayaking, and spending time outside with her spouse, two daughters, and their dog.


Carolyn Benepe

Carolyn Benepe

Nutrition Manager

Carolyn brings 40 years’ experience in food & nutrition to the Mustard Seed Project. She has worked in every aspect of food service, including owning a restaurant, bakery and catering business. Carolyn attended the University of Wyoming, then Colorado State University. She eventually obtained a master’s degree in nutrition & food science and become a registered dietician.

After graduation, Carolyn worked as a Nutrition Educator for Wyoming Cooperative Extension. Later she was the Nutrition Director for the Sheridan Senior Center. In 2016 Carolyn moved from Wyoming to Washington to be near her daughters and their families. Carolyn worked as a Clinical Dietitian at Western State Hospital for five years and at two long-term care sites on the Olympic Peninsula. In 2021 Carolyn moved to Vaughn and couldn’t be happier to call this beautiful place home.

Nelda Cervantes-Ritts

Nelda Cervantes-Ritts

Operations Assistant

Imelda (Nelda) Cervantes-Ritts was born and raised Texan, and is still trying to acclimate to PNW temperatures. She retired in February 2021 from the University of Houston, M.D. Anderson Library after 29 years of service in charge of student employee pool.

Nelda married a Gig Harbor resident in March 2021 and relocated to Key Peninsula in April 2021. She enjoys helping people and showing respect and compassion to all, especially the elderly. In her spare time Nelda enjoys connecting with family and friends in Texas, exploring her new home state, hiking, antique furniture shopping and gardening.

Ally Watson

Ally Watson

Administrative Assistant

Helping others has always been a passion of Ally's. After assisting in the King of Roads advertising campaign for the 100 year anniversary of the historic Columbia River Highway, Ally graduated from CAL, a charter school in Portland area.
Having worked in customer service for the past 10 years, Ally decided she wanted to assist the public in a larger way. She joined the Mustard Seed Projects team November of 2022.

Ally moved to Washington in 2015 from Portland. She loves the community on the Key Peninsula and is very passionate about helping those in need. In her spare time, Ally enjoys photography, hiking, reading, and billiards.

Madysen McLain

Madysen McLain

Volunteer and Transportation Coordinator

Madysen moved to Gig Harbor in September 2021 after graduating from Washington State University with a degree in journalism. Madysen wrote for two newspapers after graduating, including the Woodinville Weekly and the Reflector. She covered various topics, such as new businesses, sports, and breaking news. Then, she became the campaign manager for a local race this year where she recruited and collaborated with many volunteers.

In her spare time, Madysen enjoys camping, hiking, visiting family in Eastern Washington, and trying out new hobbies like painting and making jewelry. During Madysen's time at WSU, she had the privilege of writing for The Daily Evergreen and leading in her residence hall as a resident advisor.

James Dow

James Dow

Maintenance Manager

James was born in Oregon and relocated to Washington in 2019 with the military. James moved to the Key Peninsula in 2021 and enjoys spending time on his property with his wife, children and dogs. In his spare time James enjoys fishing, hunting, gardening, board games, backpacking and more.

His careers thus far in life have included 20 years as an engineer in the US Navy, logging, and director of maintenance at a local long term care facility.

James is splitting his time between the Mustard Seed Project helping with numerous tasks like wood splitting and delivering, fabricating structures and assisting with senior activities. When not at the Crandall Center, James can be found at the Mustard Seed Village assisting with daily home tasks.

The Mustard Seed Project (TMSP) is an equal opportunity employer committed to principles of the broadest form of diversity. We therefore shall:

Not discriminate because of race, color, age, sex, disability, national origin or ancestry, sexual orientation, or religion. This covers all areas of employment, recruitment, advertising, hiring, promotion, demotion, lateral reassignment, transfer, layoff, discharge, rates of pay or other compensation, training, or any other benefits. Employment will be solely on the basis of merit and qualification.

Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and shall not knowingly discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities. TMSP will consider modifying schedules and other adjustments to reasonably accommodate such employees.

Refuse to engage in or tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment by stakeholders or vendors.
TMSP’s Diversity & EEO policies shall apply to all volunteers and management as well. Any complaint regarding discrimination shall be reported to and handled by the Executive Director or, if the complaint is against the Executive Director, the Board Chair.

“We have met many delightful, interesting and always appreciative people who have made our time on the road well spent.” -Lynne

Services & Programs

The Mustard Seed Project

Our services and programs promote independent living and quality of life for seniors residing on the Key Peninsula


Key Peninsula Senior Ride Program

Key Senior Information Center

Our Senior Housing Project

Support Groups, Forums, and Classes