Toy store delivers gifts to North End children

POULSBO — North Kitsap Fishline Toy Store volunteer Camille Myers admitted she had seen better days as clients arrived to pick up their gifts last Wednesday morning.

“We don’t have as many toys as last year, but compared to other programs this year, we’re doing OK,” Myers said, noting that the program will still reach at least 600 kids this year.

St. Olaf’s Catholic Church and the North Kitsap Herald were once again big supporters of the event and helped lessen the impact of the expected drop in donations, she said.

“I like to make sure every child has a book, but this year I didn’t have any books until yesterday afternoon,” Myers said.

One big difference from years past was the availability of bicycles and wagons, which were provided by an anonymous donor.

“It was definitely a big help because that’s what people have been asking for,” Myers said as she expressed her thanks to that donor for his contribution to this year’s effort.

Even though donations were down, Fishline Executive Director Sharon Kirkpatrick was all smiles as she took stock of all the toys given by the community.

“Everyone has been so supportive and people have really come together to take care of the many families in need,” Kirkpatrick said.

Along with the donations of the bicycles and wagons, the Poulsbo Police Department stepped up and donated helmets to keep children safe as they enjoy their gifts.

This year’s toy store had something for kids of all ages as gift certificates to places like Checkers and Domino’s Pizza were given to teenagers, Kirkpatrick said.

Another plus for the toy store was the extra space volunteers had to organize and arrange things thanks to its location next to Curves in the EDS building.

“Bev Lyon and the owners of Poulsbo Village gave it to us rent-free, which was a big help,” Kirkpatrick said.

The Navy also continued its support of the Fishline program this year as sailors from the Intermediate Maintenance Facility in Keyport assembled all of the bicycles and wagons and moved them from a storage unit to the toy store.

Several community groups including the Hansville Ladies Aid and the Hansville Jetsam and Flotsam Garden Club adopted families for Christmas as well, she said.

“That’s been a big help to us because it allows us to serve more families because of their contributions,” Kirkpatrick said.

For Macala Fritz of Poulsbo, the toy store made a world of difference for her two children.

“It’s going to give them a Christmas and makes their Christmas all the brighter,” Fritz said as she left with a red wagon loaded with toys.

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