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Sons of Norway cooks up help for Southeast Asia

POULSBO — On any given day, walk into the Poulsbo Sons of Norway hall and you’ll learn something about Scandinavian culture.

But next weekend, the lodge will be reaching out to people in an entirely different area of the world.

From 4:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 26, exactly two months to the day after a tsunami ravaged Southeast Asia, the Sons of Norway will be sponsoring a spaghetti feed benefiting the more than 250,000 victims of the disaster. While fund-raisers of its kind have been popping up across North Kitsap recently, organizer Bob Loveland said next Saturday’s dinner will be a community-encompassing effort. Loveland was recently elected social director of the Poulsbo lodge and said the idea came out of a brainstorming session with his wife.

“She said, ‘You know, a fund-raiser that could include the whole community with the Sons of Norway as the major sponsor could really be good for Poulsbo as a whole,’” Loveland said.

So far, the community has stepped up to make the dream a reality. Central Market and Red Apple in Poulsbo have both pledged food for the dinner, which will include spaghetti with sauce, bread, salad and beverages. Other local businesses have contributed prizes that will be part or both a raffle and silent auction. Those donors include:

• Liberty Bay Auto

• Jacqui’s Floral

• Mitzel’s

• Olympic Wine Brokers

• Mimi’s Nails

• Curves

• Bayview Fitness

• That’s A Some Italian Ristorante

Loveland said he has been impressed with the generosity and friendliness of all the business owners he’s approached for donations. He said one of the best conversations was with That’s A Some Italian owner Tom Pelland, who gave a certificate for a free pizza.

“He said, ‘Oh, so you’re going to be my competitor Saturday?’” Loveland recalled with a laugh.

All proceeds from dinner, raffle and auctions will go directly to Mercy Corps and will be directed toward long-term assistance for tsunami survivors.

Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided more than $830 million in assistance to people in 80 nations. The worldwide relief organization provides emergency services during conflicts or disasters; helps develop sustainable communities through things like agriculture, economic development, health, housing and infrastructure and strengthening local organizations; and promote civil society initiatives that encourage citizen participation, accountability, nonviolent conflict management, and the rule of law.

About 150 Mercy Corps emergency team members are currently working to get the lives of tsunami victims in India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka back to normal.

“We chose Mercy Corps because 98 percent of donations go directly to those who need it,” Loveland explained.

Loveland added he has extended an invitation to the charity to have a representative speak at the Feb. 26 dinner.

Members of the Sons of Norway are also pitching in for the cause. Loveland said volunteers have been seeking donations for the raffle and silent auction and will also be the cooks and servers for the buffet-style dinner. The band, Thin Ice, which regularly performs at Sons’ events such as New Year’s Eve and Halloween, will perform at 8 p.m.

Now, Loveland’s just crossing his fingers for a good turn out from the rest of the North Kitsap community.

“I’m really hoping for at least 300 but we’ll see,” he said of his personal goal for the event.

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