Lions prowl grocery store shelves to fill Christmas meal baskets

POULSBO — Poulsbo Noon Lions Club members roared into Little Norway grocery stores early Thursday morning to snatch up Christmas goodies for area families in need.

Using community donations from their Poulsbo Lions Raab Foundation Bellringer Fund, a handful of members shopped at Albertsons, Red Apple and Central Market to fill 98 baskets with holiday dinner necessities.

Event co-chair and Bellringer Fund organizer John Macdonald said the Christmas basket cause was started by Frank and Mabel Raab, and the Lions have taken it on for at least 20 years.

Putting in just as much hard work as the shoppers themselves, the local stores do their part to make it a success, and he said it was “heartwarming” to see them pitch in and help.

“All three stores are terrific,” he said. “The stores are gracious, very, very helpful. They bend over backward to give us a hand.”

Employees at Albertsons were bringing out boxes full of dinnertime essentials, making the basket filling a bit easier for Lions members there.

About 10 members shopped at each store location where team captains handed out lists of items, which included a ham or turkey, yams, stuffing, rolls, vegetables and even a cooking pan. Each member shops for the size of a specific family. The list of families is provided to the Lions by North Kitsap Fishline. Macdonald said the Lions’ contribution makes a very sizable dent in the number of residents in need of Christmas meal help.

“I don’t know any group that takes on a pile like this,” he said.

Macdonald said the nearly 100 baskets will cost the club about $6,000 from the Bellringer Fund. Because the fund is designed to help community members all year long, this holiday donation season is an important one. So far this year, the fund has been lagging behind its usual annual progress. Nearly $17,000 in donations has come in with a goal of $35,000.

“We’re hoping things happen and people step up and make some money,” he said.

Donations to this year’s fund can be dropped off at Frontier Bank in Poulsbo, or at the North Kitsap Herald office.

Donations may also be mailed to Bellringer Fund, P.O. Box 1244, Poulsbo, WA 98370. The help number for the fund is (360) 697-6087.

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