Just when it seemed The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund was gaining momentum with each day’s receipts and had a champion’s chance of meeting its $380,000 goal, the mail - and donations - began to drop off.
On Dec. 12, we received 205 contributions; two days later, there were 74. The difference in money was every bit as drastic.
The sad reality if not enough money is raised will be reflected in the faces of children - whose sweet, innocent belief in Santa Claus could be shattered as sharply as a looking glass smashed by a rock.
Little ones won’t understand why Santa didn’t leave something for them under the tree. A bit of their innocence will be tainted.
The mental image of such a thing is too awful, especially if you think of your children or grandchildren and calculate all the loving gifts they will have to open.
Thursday’s mail brought in $7,669, which makes a running total of $145,683.72. That leaves $234,317 to collect in the final week that the Christmas Bureau is open.
If you can help, won’t you please do it now?
If the company where you work can help, won’t you please talk to your boss or the CEO about the Christmas Fund, what it means and the good it does?
Walk by the old Pay Less Drug Store in Riverpark Square on your coffee break or lunch hour and see the people lined up, waiting to apply for a food voucher to take some of the sting out of food costs, and to select a toy or game for each of their children who are 18 or younger.
These are our neighbors who struggle to make ends meet every day. They are out of work or disabled. They are single moms. They hold down part-time, low-paying jobs.
Those who do have jobs use most of their salary to pay for life’s basic costs. They live without frills.
These people want their children to have a merry Christmas just like the rest of us wish for our children.
The need is there; it’s been stated. Not much more can be done. Not unless we all pull together to help.
One company that always requests anonymity gave $1,000 on behalf of its employees and management. Sadir Khan Grotto, 5303 N. Howard, donated $500; Joyce and Vern Loland, 3428 S. Lincoln Drive, gave $300; as did the Johnson, Trenchard and Sandvik families “in loving memory of Margaret A. Doolittle, who passed away on Dec. 10.”
The stagehand and operator crews of Local 93 sent $250; Perfection Tire shops Nos. 4 and 10 each gave $100 and Sheila and Terry Schillinger enclosed an additional $25.
When Earl Noland was 12 and selling Liberty magazines for a nickel, his favorite customer was Margaret Bean, “a very gracious lady whom I understand started your Christmas Fund.” Noland made his $200 contribution in Bean’s memory.
Also giving $200 were Mr. and Mrs. Wendell Reugh, Rancho Mirage, Calif., with a note: “Once again we are happy to be part of your Christmas Fund to help someone find joy at Christmas”; and two anonymous donors, one whose gift was in memory of Deanna McKenzie.
J.O. Cravens and Linda Lott gave $150 in hopes it “will make life a bit more pleasant for someone.” Jack Worden, 11617 N. Kathy Drive, donated $125.
With a $100 contribution, Lori Peters, 10915 E. 23rd, wrote: “Four months ago our family lost a most wonderful husband and father to cancer. It was sudden and shocking! This has been a year when our lives seem shattered at times, yet we still can reflect on all the blessings we still have. We have learned to be truly thankful for each day.
“Hundreds of people have and still are showing their love to us in numerous different ways. We just want to return a tiny portion to our community. Thank you for this valuable outreach …
“Our children, ages 17, 14 and 11, have each given from their own money and are included in this gift.”
The letter was signed by Lori, Kori, Kyle and Kelsey Peters.
Other $100 gifts came from Lee Cava, 11011 E. 18th, who gave “in loving memory of my beloved husband who will not be with us this Christmas”; Jackie Miller, Cheney; Lee and Judy Fish, 7302 N. Claney Court, in memory of Albert and Pauline Senn and E.B. “Bunn” Snow, all of whom loved children and were devoted to their families; and Roy and Ruth Pearson, 2036 Parkwood Circle.
Elsie St. Clair, 1303 E. Garland, sent $100, as did Mr. and Mrs. Jack Felgenhauer, 10803 E. 25th; B. Anderson, 107 E. Holland; Henry and Dorothy Tombari, 3420 S. Tekoa; Duke and Nola Steinke, Mead, “to share with those that need some cheering up on this holiday season”; Jane Motz, 2012 W. Gordon; Virginia Ullrich, 5506 Greenwood Blvd.; Henry and Edna Reimers, 4003 W. Wellesley, who “are happy to help others have a Merry Christmas.”
Other $100 contributions came from Robert Tesch, 2016 W. Gordon; Robert W. Anderson, 4225 S. Stone, “in memory of a great and good friend, Jerry Camp Sr.”; Mr. and Mrs. Frank Wolfe, 808 W. Westmont Way; and Dick and Hazel Eden, Post Falls, “in memory of our dear friends, Judy Ehlis and George Dashiell. We miss them so much.”
Kathryn Gentleman, 3706 S. Alder Court, sent $100 to honor her father’s 80th birthday today . Now a Seattle resident, he worked several years in Spokane. “He has spent his life caring more about others than about himself, and I thought this donation would be appropriate to wish him a happy birthday and to tell him once again how much we love him.”
Kev Vorhes, 11, 1705 E. 61st, wrote, saying last year he and his brothers, Michael and John, both 7 years old, gave $75. “I felt really good and was glad that I was helping the city. (This year) my brothers and I would like to donate $100.”..”
There were four anonymous donations of $100. Members of the Viking Whist Club sent $80.