POULSBO — Neither rain nor snow could slow the volunteers in their task.
Within an hour Wednesday morning, members of the Poulsbo Host Lions Club had filled boxes with enough food for 100 families’ Christmas dinners.
“This is great. I love it,” said John Macdonald, a Poulsbo Lions Club member who drove over snowy roads from his Seabeck home to help. “It’s one of the things I enjoy most about the holiday season.”
Lions Club members shopped at Albertsons, Central Market and Red Apple for families whose names were provided by Fishline and ShareNet. The dinners were funded by the Poulsbo Lions/Raab Foundation Bellringer Fund.
This was a team effort. At each market, Lions shopped from a list of items for families of various sizes. Each family gets a turkey, bread, brown-and-serve rolls, canned cranberries, canned milk, canned pumpkin, canned vegetables, canned yams, celery, eggs, margarine, onions, potatoes, oranges, stuffing, sugar, vegetable oil, a foil pie tin, and Christmas candy.
The stores got into the action as well. At the checkout stand, store employees rang up items from a line of shopping carts and put the items in boxes labeled with the family’s name. The boxes were then stored for pickup — 33 or 34 boxes per store.
With discounts given by the stores, each box cost approximately $55, according to Macdonald, a Poulsbo CPA.
Albertsons store manager Christine Murdock said every department had an employee involved early Wednesday.
“It’s nice that [the Lions] come and support all three stores,” Murdock said.
Murdock said she usually tries to take 10 percent off the price, but this time used various discount programs to get the Lions savings of up to 20 percent.
“It was a good win for them,” she said. And it was a personally gratifying experience for her.
“It’s nice to be part of something that is so important to the community,” Murdock said. “We did a food drive in September for Gateway Fellowship. I like to do that kind of stuff.”
Donations to the local Bellringer Fund are used to provide food, emergency shelter and emergency financial assistance to North Kitsap residents in need.
The fund was founded in the 1940s by Frank and Mabel Raab as a way for neighbors to help each other during emergencies. The Poulsbo Noon Lions Club administers the Bellringer Fund for the Raab Foundation.
The Christmas food basket program is a Bellringer tradition. The fund customarily provides 100 Christmas food baskets to local families; that’s one-sixth of the money raised each year. The rest of the money is distributed to North Kitsap Fishline, ShareNet and St. Vincent de Paul, which use the funds to assist families who need help avoiding eviction, paying utility bills, and keeping homes supplied with heating fuel.
All told, the Poulsbo Lions Bellringer Fund and its donors assisted more than 300 families in 2011.