Local ‘Hunger Games’ raises $700 for rescue mission

The “Tributes” in a local version of “The Hunger Games” helped raise $700 for the Kitsap Rescue Mission.                        - Sherri Danielson / Contributed
The “Tributes” in a local version of “The Hunger Games” helped raise $700 for the Kitsap Rescue Mission.
— image credit: Sherri Danielson / Contributed

POULSBO — The odds were in favor of Sherri Danielson last weekend when she hosted a victorious Hunger Games-themed fundraiser for Kitsap Rescue Mission.

Danielson, a Poulsbo resident, was inspired by the book series “The Hunger Games” to host a fundraiser to combat hunger and homelessness.

“The main thing we got when we were reading the books was the major discrepancy between poverty and wealth,” Danielson said of herself and her husband Steve. In the books, 12 poverty-stricken districts provide goods and services to the wealthy Capitol district. The Hunger Games are an annual event where two young people, called tributes, are sent from each district to fight to the death for the entertainment of the Capitol.

The Danielsons wanted to raise awareness of the need in Kitsap for food, shelter and living supplies, and chose Kitsap Rescue Mission, a nonprofit she knew about through friends.

More than 40 people attended the Hunger Games fundraiser on Aug. 18, and Sherri said they’ve collected $700, with more funds still coming in.

“Wow … I was surprised when I was approached on the [fundraiser], and more surprised when she told me the amount,” said Walt Le Couteur, executive director of the Mission. “That’s really great. It’s a big shot in the arm for us. Most of these fundraisers raise a couple hundred dollars … This is a big chunk of change for a homegrown fundraiser.”

Kitsap Rescue Mission provides meals, showers and shelter for homeless people in Kitsap County. Le Couteur said the mission provides 2,500 meals a month at Bremerton and Port Orchard locations, and helped establish Poulsbo’s Gateway Fellowship’s monthly free meal.

Kitsap Rescue Mission estimates there are 1,800 homeless individuals in the county. About 50 percent of the folks they help Le Couteur calls the working poor — residents who aren't homeless, but struggle between paying rent and putting food on the table. The Mission is also working toward building a year-round shelter, which Kitsap County does not have.

Sherri included many details of the book to re-create the Games for her fundraiser guests. By luck, they had exactly 12 tributes and about 30 Capitol spectators. Steve built a Cornucopia, which is the weapons and supply arsenal in the book, in their backyard. Sherri even invited coaches from North Kitsap schools to run the “training center.” Tributes wore flag-football flags to represent their life, and were given challenges to complete.

Appropriately, two tributes came out on top and received copies of “The Hunger Games” movies.

Sherri also set donation markers and how the money makes a difference — a $25 donation provides 14 meals, and a $50 donation provides 28 meals. Those that donated were also gifted with a “Hunger Games” movie soundtrack and a Mockingjay pin.

“Everybody really went all out,” Sherri said. Participants are already asking when the “Catching Fire” (book No. 2) party will be, and Sherri said she thinks they’ll host another fundraiser.

“It was really, really fun,” she said. While the books are a dystopian look at a future nation, Sherri sees some of the character’s problems with poverty happening today.

“It really is all around us,” Sherri said. “We eat way too much, and throw too much away.”

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