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Bellringer aims to ring in another season of generosity

POULSBO — At the Raab Foundation, the spirit of Christmas is alive and well year ‘round.

That’s because the money raised during the annual Bellringer drive each holiday season is doled out throughout the year to North Kitsap families in need.

“I get an awesome feeling,” commented CPA John Macdonald, one of a handful of volunteers from the Poulsbo Noon Lions who administer the fund. “It’s a way of giving back to the community.”

Once again, it’s time to ring the bell for the fund that keeps neighbors warm, safe, healthy and fed throughout the year. The 52nd annual Bellringer fund-raising drive will run through the end of December.

Last year, Bellringer set its sights at $25,000 and the community responded by giving more than $32,000. This year, the foundation is again setting a goal of $25,000.

“If we had another year like last year, it would be absolutely fantastic,” Macdonald commented. “But we’re keeping the goal at the same level this year because we realize that the economy has not completely recovered yet.”

Throughout 2003, more than 350 families have been helped by the Bellringer fund for things like Christmas food baskets (the fund will furnish 100 to Fishline this Christmas), help with utility or power bills and even emergency transportation. Macdonald said one family recently asked for assistance through a temporary family emergency and has pledged to give as much, if not more, back to Bellringer when their situation is over.

“That shows we’re doing what we should be doing,” Macdonald commented. “Of course, no one has to repay any of the money but that shows that people are appreciative of what we do.”

But it takes the whole community to make sure Bellringer has the means to help one and all. Each year, the generosity of donors increases but so does the need.

“As we roll down to the end of the year, we will have used up a substantial portion of last year’s money,” Macdonald explained.

Tax deductible donations can be made to the Bellringer Fund at Kitsap Bank in Poulsbo, 19725 7th Avenue, and the North Kitsap Herald, 18887 State Highway 305, Suite 700 or P.O. Box 278, Poulsbo, WA 98370. Donations can also be mailed to the Bellringer Fund at P.O. Box 1244, Poulsbo, WA 98370. Contributions of $250 or more receive a receipt for the donor’s records.

Families, individuals and organizations will be listed on the front page of the Herald every issue as donations are tallied.

Once again, the North Kitsap Herald will also be collecting toys for the Fishline Food Bank beginning Monday, Nov. 24. New, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays through Dec. 12. There is a particular need for items appropriate for ages 10-14.

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