POULSBO — Much more than holiday cheer filled downtown Poulsbo’s Santa House this year.
Visitors to the house, built by civic booster Bill Austin, filled the Santa House with more than $1,700 and 300 pounds of food donations for North Kitsap Fishline.
Danny Fritts has the honor of assuming the role of Father Christmas each holiday season, greeting local children to hear their holiday wishes. Since 2012, visitors to the Santa House have donated food and cash to Fishline, but Fritts said this year’s haul is the heftiest yet.
“It’s all about raising money for Fishline,” Fritts said, donning the elaborate outfit sewn by Front Street Gallery owner Anita Albala.
“I’ve been doing this for five years now, and every year it has gone up at least 200 bucks and this is the biggest yet,” Fritts said. “I really enjoy it. I can’t put words to it, it’s a joy what I do.”
Though Christmas had already come and passed three days prior, Fritts still trod the streets of downtown, bells jingling, back to the Santa House once more.
In front of the house on Front Street stood Mary Nader, executive director of North Kitsap Fishline. Beside Nader stood Austin, slightly supported by a cane after breaking his hip in late November after hanging Christmas lights on Front Street. Between the two stood Fritts, holding up the large cardboard check made out to Fishline for $1,731.
People don’t often realize what it means to a hungry family to have something as simple as a carton of eggs, Nader said.
“It’s amazing how you look in your refrigerator and you take things for granted, and then you realize when people are struggling how precious things are. A dozen eggs is meaningful to people,” Nader said.
Referring to the donation, she said, “Think about how many dozens of eggs that will buy.”
Other acts of generosity this season:
- The Poulsbo Sons of Norway Lodge raised at least $8,500 for ShareNet Food Bank in Kingston.
- Kitsap Credit Union donated $30,000 to United Way of Kitsap County, and $7,500 to the Haselwood Family YMCA.
- The Kitsap Sea Hawkers Booster Club, Craig and Laura Douglas, and Karen Phipps donated $3,800 Central Kitsap Food Backpack 4 Kids, and $3,800 to StandUp for Kids — Kitsap County.
- The Douglases and Mrs. Phipps also donated $5,000 to the Booster Club to bolster the club’s fundraising efforts.
The Peninsulas Team of Operation Christmas Child collected 10,074 shoeboxes filled with gifts —school supplies, hygiene items, and fun toys — which were delivered to children in some of the hardest-to-reach countries around the world.
— Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.