A most welcome “avalanche” – 300 winter coats and blankets – were
delivered to Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH food bank Thursday, Feb. 6 by a delegation of sixth
graders from Harbor Ridge Middle School. The kids were full of grins and giggles as they lined
up to pass bag after bag of new and gently used coats from the delivery van through the FISH
front door and into the sorting room which was quickly filled to the ceiling.
The initial spark for the project came from students themselves meeting
in the school's weekly Interact Club, sponsored by Gig Harbor Rotary. They wanted to come up
with a plan for a community service project – something to help those in need this winter. After
some deliberation they voted to make GHP FISH the recipient of the coats to distribute to people
most in need in the community, setting an ambitious goal of 800 items. Once the goal was set,
and with some guidance from science teacher Kirsten Brent and Pam Peterson of the Rotary club,
they went to work planning and promoting it with posters, announcements, “pestering all our
friends,” and even creating a promotional video they wrote and produced to show to the entire
As the students brought in their coats during the past four weeks, the
accumulation in the back of Kirsten Brent's classroom grew day by day. One seventh grader was so
inspired he saved up enough to buy 11 blankets online as his contribution. Winning the prize for
collecting the most coats was Kathryn Portteus' class which brought in 84 of them. For their
efforts they earned a party with hot chocolate and cookies to celebrate.
Thanks to the efforts of those determined Harbor Ridge kids, at least
800 more people of all ages in our community will be warm for the rest of the winter.