Kids Fish Free Program

A child shakes hands with Marine Corps League Detachment 1042 member Stephen Beauton before he's handed a fishing pole at the fifth Kids Fish Free giveaway.

COQUILLE — For its fifth holiday season the Oregon Marine Corps League Coquille River Detachment 1042 is casting out into community to bring joy with its Kids Fish Free program.

The idea behind the Kids Fish Free Program is to provide children in our local communities with fishing poles

“It’s kind of like our version of Toys for Tots, except instead of toys we give out fishing poles,” department commandant with Detachment 1042 David Romaowski said.

This year the Detachment 1042 was able to collect 1,295 fishing poles for kids in our local communities. For the past couple of years Detachment 1042 has gathered 1,200 fishing poles, but this year it was able to get 95 more poles.

Thursday the 1042 held one of its larger giveaways at Englund Marine Supply in Charleston, where they handed out 730 fishing poles.

Poles are free to any child 14 and under, when kids show up at these events with their parents.

On Friday the marines passed out 140 more poles to second and third grade students at Coquille Elementary school. This coming Friday every child in the first through third grade at Myrtle Point Elementary School will be give poles through the program.

On Dec. 19 there will be another public pole give away at Billy Smoothboars restaurant in Bandon from 4 p.m. to 7p.m.  

Romanowski said that each year he begins working on the Kids Fish Free Program in July. He drives around to local business and individuals looking for donations.

“Roughly we had almost 70 donations this year. The total cost to make this happen is about $16,000,” Romowski said.

Romaowski said really wanted to provide these poles to the smaller more rural communities in the county.

 “The idea is to get them out of the house, get them off the cell phones, get them off the video games, and get them out on the water fishing,” Romanowski said.

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Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.