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Bellringer looks to chime in $35,000

POULSBO — The North Kitsap Bellringer Fund is chiming its way to an impressive start as its 56th year of earning funds for North Kitsap Fishline officially tolled into action Thursday.

The Raab Foundation, administered by the Poulsbo Noon Lions Club, is already tallying in a $1,000 donation from the Lockheed Martin Employees Foundation, and members are hoping that’s just the tip of the North End’s generosity.

“We’re off and running,” said organizer John Macdonald.

With a goal for the year of $35,000 — an amount the fund has nearly met or exceeded for two years in a row — Macdonald said the Poulsbo community is one that can step up to the challenge.

Last year, the group tallied in a whopping $35,116.10, a record-breaking bundle of help for North Enders in need, rocketing past the $30,000 expectation. In 2005, donations topped off at $34,012.53, again blasting by the group’s initial goal.

Macdonald said the fundraiser is one of Fishline’s biggest throughout the year.

“It’s very successful,” Fishline Client Services Coordinator Rae Rodriquez said of the fundraiser. “The community really comes together. We had great support and it was a blast.”

The fund is staffed by volunteers, allowing more than 99 percent of money earned to circle straight back into community causes. It’s an effort that provides one-time assistance with bills, food, emergency transportation and Christmas food baskets for local residents, from which the Lions receive hundreds of requests for assistance each year.

Macdonald said in the last week alone, 12 such requests have come in. He said as a cause that involves the entire community, and lasts throughout the holiday season, for many the Bellringer Fund provides just the answer.

“For the Lions, the Bellringer Fund is a signature project,” said club president Jim Stark, adding that any size donation can help the fund reach its lofty aim. Even pennies from a piggy bank help to top the target and provide even more for those less fortunate.

Stark said hitting the front page news, too, is an essential key for Bellringer’s cause. The foundation counts on twice weekly updates, which can be found in every issue of the North Kitsap Herald, to keep the community posted.

Donations to the fund can be dropped off at Frontier Bank in Poulsbo, or at the North Kitsap Herald office, 18887 Highway 305, Suite 700, Poulsbo, WA 98370. Donations can also be mailed to Bellringer Fund, P.O. Box 1244, Poulsbo, WA 98370. The help number of the fund is (360) 697-6087.

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