Bellringer sets goal of $30,000

POULSBO — After exceeding their $30,000 goal last year, Bellringer volunteers are hoping for another generous holiday season as the 2005 campaign kicked off Wednesday.

Unlike 2004, when the fund was in dire straits, volunteer John Macdonald said it’s doing OK this year, but the fund-raising drive couldn’t have come a better time for the program’s 54th year.

Bellringer, a part of the Raab Foundation, which is administered by the Poulsbo Noon Lions Club, provides one-time assistance of food, help with bills, emergency transportation and Christmas food baskets through North Kitsap Fishline.

“Our goal last year was $30,000, which was the first time we’d set it that high,” Macdonald said. “We met it, so we’re going for $30,000 this year.”

In addition to meeting the goal, volunteers hope to provide 100 Christmas baskets this year. Last year, the group provided 70.

“They tell us how many they need and we go out and do it,” he said.

Through mid-October, the program had provided assistance for 251 families with an average request of $135 per family. During the same period of time in 2004, the program had helped 223 families with an average request of $143 each.

“Everything that’s given stays here,” Macdonald said, noting the program is designed to help families in the North Kitsap area.

Even with all of the fund-raisers for the victims of hurricanes and other natural disasters, Macdonald is confident that this year’s goal will be met.

“People have always come out and supported us,” he said.

After chipping in $2,625 to push last year’s drive past its goal, Mike Brooks, owner of Mike’s Car Wash in Poulsbo, is once again donating a portion of his proceeds during November and December to give the fund a boost.

Donations to the fund can be dropped off at the Kitsap Bank branch in Poulsbo or the North Kitsap Herald office, 18887 State Route 305, Suite 700. 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.

Starting Nov. 30, the Herald will again sponsor its Holiday Toy Box Drive, accepting new, unwrapped presents for local children. Toys will be accepted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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