Support the Lions/Raab Foundation Bellringer Fund | In Our Opinion

If you gave to the Poulsbo Lions Club/Raab Foundation Bellringer Fund in 2011, you made a big difference in someone’s life — possibly someone you know.

Since its inception in 1946, the Poulsbo Lions Club/Raab Foundation Bellringer Fund has helped provide food, emergency shelter and emergency financial assistance to North Kitsap residents in need. There is no overhead; every penny goes back into the community, according to John Macdonald, co-chairman of the fund.

In 2011, the fund assisted more than 300 local families.

In 2011, the fund ensured 102 local families had food for the Christmas holiday.

In 2011, money distributed by the fund to North Kitsap Fishline, Kingston’s ShareNet and St. Vincent de Paul Society enabled those organizations to help local families avoid eviction and keep their utilities from being shut off, and get emergency transportation to medical appointments and work.

In 2011, as the economic recovery continued to slog along, North Kitsap residents dug deep and gave what they could; some gave $5, some gave more. But the donations added up — combined, you gave a remarkable $33,061, some $7,471 more than that collected in the 2010-11 campaign.

The continued increase in the number of people helped by these organizations paints a picture of our times: In 2007-08, ShareNet’s food assistance was one-fourth of what it is today. ShareNet’s staff has met the need as good stewards of the resources given them: Today, it has the same number of staff (four part-timers) as in 2007-08. Several donors have become ShareNet clients and several clients have become ShareNet volunteers.

Ditto at North Kitsap Fishline. Because of money raised by the Bellringer Fund, “We’re able to stretch what we’re doing for people in crisis — whether it’s paying rent, mortgage, or utilities,” said Rae Rodriguez, Fishline’s client services manager. “It used to be that folks would come in because of an issue, now it’s because of multiple issues. We’ve been in crisis mode for a couple of years, and we’ve probably tripled our client load since then.”

These organizations are coming up with creative solutions to help people meet their basic needs. Fishline, for example, has a home share program, where it matches people who need a place to live with people who need help with their mortgage. It also connects clients looking for work with companies and job service providers. But to meet immediate needs, like food and shelter, Fishline and the others make good use of the money donated to the Poulsbo Lions Club/Raab Foundation Bellringer Fund.

Fishline, ShareNet and St. Vincent de Paul are a critical part of the safety net in North Kitsap. They are there for you and your family — and your fellow community members — when needed. Contribute to the Poulsbo Lions Club/Raab Foundation Bellringer Fund and keep the safety net strong.

You can take your Bellringer Fund donations to the North Kitsap Herald office, 19351 8th Ave., Suite 205, Poulsbo. Or mail to P.O. Box 244, Poulsbo, WA. 98370. Donors’ names will be published each week in the Herald.

Thank you. And Happy Thanksgiving.


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