Reaching out to those in need

Bellringer, part one

POULSBO — When Martha “Happy” DeCoteau, a well-known philanthropist in North Kitsap, passed away, she ensured that her legacy would live on. She asked residents of North Kitsap to contribute to the Herald’s annual Bellringer fund in her memory.

And donate they did.

DeCoteau’s memory kickstarted our campaign with more than $500 in donations. It’s a fitting tribute for a woman who was a longtime contributor to the Bellringer campaign. Every year DeCoteau would visit the Herald office with a check and a list of the people whose memory she honored with her contribution, said Laura Lanum, Herald office administrator.

The Bellringer is an annual fund drive headed by the Poulsbo Lions Club that offers one-time assistance to families to pay rent and utilities. In addition, the Lions Club is hoping to give out 100 food baskets the week prior to Christmas. These baskets are given out at both the Poulsbo Fishline and Kingston’s Sharenet.

This year, the fund ran short in the middle of the year. The donations in DeCoteau’s memory and a $1,500 contribution from the Suquamish Tribe helped revive the fund.

“Typically we set aside a certain set of dollars each year to make sure we make it to the end of the year,” Poulsbo Lion John Macdonald said. “If we get down to that reserve, we stop giving out assistance. This year we had to stop giving assistance in July.”

Macdonald said the goal is to raise $35,000.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” he said.

Families that receive assistance are referred to the foundation through Saint Olaf’s Church Poulsbo — an arm of Saint Vincent de Paul.

The Bellringer fund was founded in 1946 by Frank and Mabel Raab. The Poulsbo Lions club took over in the 1950s.

To contribute to the Poulsbo Fishline’s annual toy drive, you can bring new, unwrapped toys to either the North Kitsap Herald Office or Poulsbo’s Fishline office. Donations to the fund can be dropped off at Frontier Bank in Poulsbo or the North Kitsap Herald office, 18887 Hwy 305, Suite 700 or mailed to Bellringer Fund, P.O. Box 1244, Poulsbo, WA, 98370. All donations are tax deducible through the Raab foundation.

Mike Brooks of Mike’s Car Wash, located in the Poulsbo Village, will donate $2 per car wash to the Bellringer for those who request it.

The 2009 Bellringer campaign started off with a bang with a flurry of donations in memory of Martha “Happy” DeCoteau:

• James Fureby, $25

• Etta and Daniel Shermer,


• Sharon and Donald Tuson,


• Lucille Weisenberger, $20

• Patricia A. Talmage, $100

•Donna and Magne

Svarthumle, $25

• Marion Dennis and

Marlene Dixon, $25

• James W. Ray, $10

• Emmannnel and Arlene

Xenos, $100

• Shirley Billings and Darlene

Zimmer, $25

Other donors:

• Richard and Nikki Hoefer,


• Eric Billmark, $25

• D. Rand Hillier, $100

• K and P Ostheller, $50

• Lockheed Martin Employees

Foundation, $500

• Suquamish Tribe, $1,500

Grand total: $2,665

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