Armstrong driving donations for Fishline

POULSBO — Most food drives are designed to help community members in need.

But one next week will also offer donors the chance to get one local mother back home to her family.

Armstrong Fitness University employee Dawn Halferty has volunteered to be “held captive” at the gym off Viking Avenue for the duration of the center’s 4th Annual Holiday Food Drive for Poulsbo’s Fishline Food Bank from 9 a.m. Nov. 22 to 7 p.m. Nov. 24. She will be eating and sleeping at the gym until the end of the event or until a 9-foot by 12-foot room is filled to the brim with donations, whichever comes first.

“I thought it was crazy but great,” said Armstrong Fitness owner Ann Armstrong of the idea. “What a great thing to do. It’s a light-hearted but positive way to make a statement to try and help the community.”

The Armstrong food drive is usually scheduled this time of year as a way to help replenish the local food bank between the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Armstrong added that Halferty’s idea, which was inspired by local stunts like a radio celebrity who sat on top of a billboard for the duration of a charitable drive, came at a very opportune time. Usually, the Fishline benefit has been held just among Armstrong Fitness University members but the Armstrongs wanted to expand it to the general community this year.

“We’ve usually filled a couple of mini vans with food in the past but we wanted to do something bigger this year,” Armstrong explained. “We wanted to really challenge ourselves and we think we can do this.”

Besides non-perishable food items, community members can also come by and donate money to the cause. Every $5 donated will count for one cubic foot of space in the room.

Halferty said the most convenient part about the potential three days she could be spending at the gym is that she’ll already be at work. She’s also a member of Armstrong Fitness University and said she plans to spend a lot of her free time working out. And as for the sleeping arrangements:

“One of the ladies is bringing me a cot and I’ll pretty much have my choice of where I want to sleep,” Halferty said. “But I’ll be up at 5 a.m. when it opens and I’ll be up until whenever they close.”

But drive organizers are hoping the community steps up and donates enough food to get Halferty home before the three days are up. Armstrong noted that the pledge is a big commitment for Halferty, who will be away from her husband and kids 11, 6 and 3.

“My husband thought I was crazy,” Halferty said of her family’s first reaction to the idea. “He said, ‘Are you crazy?’ and I said, ‘No, it’s for a good cause.’ Besides, I thought it would be good for them to get a taste of what it’s like not to have mom around.”

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