Karlotta Morey receives $666 each month from the state Department of Social and Health Services. Her gas and electric bill literally burns up most of that; rent is $88 (the rest is subsidized), which leaves precious little for food, clothing, gasoline …
Oh, yes - Morey has five children between the ages of 5 and 15.
Before dawn Monday morning, long before alarm clocks began waking most of Spokane, Morey was standing in front of The Spokesman-Review Christmas Bureau at Riverpark Square.
She was anxious to receive a food voucher so she and her children can have something for Christmas dinner besides hot dogs, and to select a toy or game for each of her children. The one toy she selects for each of them is apt to be the only gift they open.
Jeanette Greer and her husband are both disabled, unable to work. Thanks to the Christmas Fund, each of her boys, Bobby, 11, and John, 7, will have a present with their names attached, tucked under the tree.
Matt Krogstad works a couple days a week as a butcher’s assistant; there isn’t any more work than that, or he’d be behind a meat counter waiting on customers instead of standing in line, looking for Christmas charity.
The Christmas Fund, supported by Spokesman-Review readers, will help Krogstad’s boys have “a little bit better Christmas” - both with food and gifts.
He called Toys for Tots, but not before the Marines’ toy barrels had emptied and families were turned away. Others standing near Krogstad nodded and murmured in agreement. They had also been told they were too late.
It seems the demand for toys is greater by far than the supply.
Krogstad has a jaded view of Christmas and its commercialism, but for the sake of his children, “I’m glad to see somebody’s out here to help the less fortunate.”
That’s you, the readers. You are the ones helping the less fortunate.
You’re helping Melanie Card, whose husband works as a telemarketer but doesn’t earn enough to buy Christmas toys for their son, 3-year-old Shaquille, or something special for the family’s dinner.
What they get from the Christmas Bureau will be their Christmas.
Card fondly remembers Christmases past of “being with family and sharing, and all that lovely jazz.” Now, Christmas depresses her. She’s more sad than happy. Her mother has died and her father lives in another city. She has no family in Spokane besides her husband and baby. And, she’s all but broke.
You’re helping single, teenage moms who work part time at fastfood restaurants for minimum wage; they live alone, valiantly trying to support themselves and their babies.
On Monday, 2,414 people received seasonal assistance through the Christmas Bureau. Of those people, 1,503 were children and 911 were adults.
A story of financial strife and Christmas concerns comes from every person standing in the line that wound down Main from Riverpark Square, around the corner and down Lincoln, and around the corner onto Riverfront Avenue.
In Monday’s mail was an anonymous $2,000 gift from Creston, Wash., which will be an enormous help to those who stood in line Monday and the others who will be there every weekday until Dec. 22.
Telect of Liberty Lake sent $500 with a note: “We are very supportive of the work you are doing and hope you are successful in reaching your goal of $380,000.”
Monday’s total was $10,037.50, which gives a year-to-date figure of $107,718.45. That leaves $272,282 to go. Thinking optimistically, meeting the goal seems plausible. But, let one’s guard down for a minute and the $272,000-plus seems overwhelming.
It becomes worrisome.
If you doubt the goodness of the Christmas Fund, the next time you’re Christmas shopping downtown, go stand in line with the people lined up in front of the former Pay Less Drug Store in Riverpark Square. Talk to them. Learn their circumstances. Listen - and hear - the amount they have to live on.
You’ll come away with a new appreciation not only of what you have, but of how our neighbors struggle. You will shake your head in wonder.
A $500 anonymous contribution was made Monday “in memory of Bill Cowles, a very good man.” The donor also expressed gratitude that the newspaper undertakes this drive each year. One reason the Christmas Fund has continued is because the late publisher of the newspaper, William H. Cowles 3rd, was its champion. He believed in it and supported it fully. And, yes, we agree he was a very good man.
The employees at Inland Pacific Stamps and Marking Products, 215 W. Second, collectively gave $400 to “do a little part to help the less fortunate have a brighter and cheerier holiday season.”
An anonymous $300 gift was received, and $250 came from John Baumhofer, 2204 W. Walton, in memory of his mother. Giving $250 was Willard Knapton, 614 E. Eighth, and the Freighters Club of Consolidated Freightways, 606 N. Fiske.
A-Star Distributing Inc., 7614 N. Market, gave $200; the banquet employees at the Valley’s Red Lion gave $161; and the Spokane Yacht Club donated $156.50. Frederic and Dorothy Howard, 1214 W. 20th, gave $150, along with an anonymous donor; and a couple who did not want their names published sent in $125.
Giving $100 were Vi and Jackie Pouley, Lind, Wash., in memory of their son-in-law, Scott Cochrane, and sister-in-law, Jane Pouley; Mary Jean Coulter, 3231 W. Boone; Bob and Lorraine Martin, 13310 E. 22nd; Del and Ruth Mattix, Veradale; Tom and Mary Anna Bryan, 7929 N. Allen Place, with: “a small token for the many blessings we have received in 1995.”
Also sending donations of $100 were Robert and Maxine Johnson, 3718 W. Bacon; Marguerite K. Holms, 2211 W. Wabash, in memory of her husband, Bill, and son, Dave; Mrs. Jack Gleason, 5219 W. Myrtlewood Court; and Donna and Les Dieckman, 2804 E. 30th, who gave in memory of Lena Dyes and Amanda Hansen, “our mother and our aunt who passed away this year and who are greatly missed.”
An anonymous couple gave $100 to honor their families, the Bakers, Sniders and Seigles. “They always give us so much, we would like to give some back.”
Also giving $100 were Gene Hubbell, 1707 W. Euclid; William J. Houk, 1818 W. Francis; H.M. Griffith, 160 S. Coeur d’Alene, “to make someone’s Christmas a little happier”; Mr. and Mrs. Paul Hanson, Clayton, Wash.; Mr. and Mrs. Ed English, 1014 E. 29th; Mark Whitney Construction Inc., Newman Lake; and Norma Echelbarger, 3520 E. Ninth, in memory of Ike.
Other $100 gifts came from Vivian Stewart, 2608 Riverview Dr.; Jerome Keller, 4710 Northwest Blvd.; William and Nancy Henry, 4307 S. Helena, “in loving memory of Nancy’s mother, Marian Heglar”; six anonymous gifts, one “in loving memory of my husband, John M. Harrison, who loved to see children excited and happy at this time of year,” and another “in honor of some friends from K.B.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo
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