News

Spirit of giving comes to Foodline

BY STEVE DEDUAL

For the Bremerton Patriot

The Bremerton Foodline has been experiencing some difficult situations lately with the demand for emergency food rising well above recent food donation levels, but this Christmas, a Bremerton resident went out of his way to be sure the food bank would have at least a few gifts for the boys and girls whose families are experiencing hardships.

Foodline director Monica Bernhard, said the resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, donated 35 bmx-style bicycles, 60 little red wagons, 20 Tonka trucks and seven cases of candy canes, “so that every kid would have a candy cane.”

Bernhard said despite the donor’s generosity, he is not a member of Bremerton’s elite.

“He is not like some big rich guy, “Bernhard said. “He is just an average, sweet, gentleman who just wants to help out kids. He is just an amazing man.”

“I just enjoy giving toys to kids at Christmas,” the donor said. “Especially the toys that I enjoyed having as a child.”

In addition to the generosity of this one man, the foodline received a donation of labor from a number of community volunteers and Navy personnel. Servicemen and women from the USS John C. Stennis, USS San Francisco, USS Louisiana, Carrier Strike Group 3, Naval Base Kitsap security, Port Ops Naval Base Kitsap joined shipyard workers and other volunteers on Saturday at the Bremerton Foodline office to assemble the toys.

Bernhard said it was as easy as making a phone call to Kevin M. Monroe, Command Master Chief of Naval Base Kitsap.

“I thought there might be some sailors in the community who aren’t necessarily from here, and this is like a fun project for people during the holidays,” Bernhard said. “We have had an amazing turnout.”

Steven Knickerbocker, an Operations Specialist Second Class on board the John C. Stennis, was there to help build the bikes and said he wanted to help out even though he would be able to travel home to Houston for the holidays.

“I’ll be going home for Christmas this year,” Knickerbocker said. “But to help kids out, that’s great.”

The reasons why people volunteer their time to help more unfortunate members of the community are as varied as the persons who actually volunteer, and Knickerbocker and his shipmates had their own reasons as well.

“I definitely did it to give to the community,” he said. “There are a lot of little kids out there who are unfortunate and just don’t have a good Christmas. We want to help out as much as we can.”

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