Bellringer answers call to action: goal $35,000

POULSBO — In tough economic times Poulsbo’s Bellringer is hoping to once again meet a goal of $35,000 in community contributions, after hitting more than $36,000 in 2007.

Volunteer John Macdonald said the fund has helped a rising number of people during 2008, and he expects the need for assistance to continue on the incline in the coming year.

“The need has gotten even greater than it ever has in the past,” he said. “The next 12 months are going to be tough.”

Bellringer, a part of the Raab Foundation administered by the Poulsbo Noon Lions Club, offers one-time help with food, utility bills, rent, emergency medical, housing and transportation needs, as well as Christmas food baskets through North Kitsap Fishline. This year, Bellringer is also teaming its food basket services with ShareNet in Kingston, Macdonald said.

The fund has a help number residents can call to request services.

“You hear the doom and gloom on the radio or TV, and we haven’t seen the worst of it yet. It’s got us all concerned,” Macdonald said. “If there was a year of need, this is it.”

This year the group is hoping to provide 100 Christmas food baskets for families in need, which Macdonald expects to cost roughly $5,000, the amount left from last year’s Bellringer fund drive. Through October, the program had helped close to 300 families, with an average request per family at $185. Assistance was cut off early this year due to the increased amount of need.

Most accepting assistance live within the North Kitsap School District.

Donations to the fund can be dropped off at Frontier Bank 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.

Donations come in all shapes and sizes, from coworkers or group members pitching in together to piggy bank savings of the area’s youngest citizens.

The fund’s help number is (360) 697-6087.

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