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Christmas Fund 1995 Unexpected Generosity Counters Commercialism Donation To Needy Lets Givers Reaffirm Spirit Of The Season

Unexpected gifts sometimes are the most exciting to receive.

A few days before The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund began its drive this year, Pawn 1 Inc., 401 W. Main, mailed a $1,000 check from the company and employees of its four shops.

“Your fund is of particular importance to us as it allows us to return to the Spokane community a gesture of gratitude and goodwill during the Holiday Season,” read the accompanying note signed by Mark Silver, CEO.

The money from the pawn shops brought the day’s total to $1,704.61, bringing the fund’s first two days to $3,154.61.

Unexpected things, however, also can trip up the best-laid plans of the season.

Over the decades, we have allowed Christmas to become so commercial that it’s sometimes difficult to retain the season’s purity as holiday demands rear their ugly, nagging heads.

There always is so much to do in the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas: so many presents to buy and wrap; so many cards to sign, address, stamp and mail - to say nothing of writing a personal note on each.

There are cookies to bake, children’s programs to attend; a tree to decorate; a house to trim; people to entertain. …

Add to that mix something totally unexpected, and the whole thing can become overwhelming. And when it does, the holiday magic is in danger of dissolving into cynicism.

To keep the spirit fresh, try looking at holiday priorities with a new eye: It feels good to dig into your coin purse to help a homeless man sitting in front of a fast-food restaurant buy a burger and a cup of coffee.

But it’s an even better feeling to dig into your wallet and hand the man a dollar bill before he has a chance to say anything.

That’s like giving to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund. Only, instead of the hungry man, substitute a little girl with saucer-sized eyes sitting on Santa’s lap with her Christmas wish list.

Now picture that girl’s mother as she watches, wondering how she will tell her daughter that Santa must have lost his way to their house on Christmas Eve, but that maybe next year he will bring two gifts to make up for the doll she particularly wanted this year.

It doesn’t take much from we who have to make a huge difference in the lives of those who do not.

Six people each giving 50 cents to the homeless man would buy him a hot lunch - or, three people digging a little deeper, but still without “pain” to themselves, would make life a little unexpectedly easier for the man and fill him with a bit more dignity.

That’s what your dollars do with the Christmas Fund: They can make the difference between a happy holiday for children and their families and a day spent like any other day.

At the Christmas Bureau, parents can select a gift for each child who is 18 or younger, wrap it up and put it under the tree so there will be something to anticipate opening on Christmas morning.

Your Christmas Fund gift also provides parents with food vouchers to help make a tasty holiday dinner.

Through the Christmas Fund, creating a brighter day for those in need doesn’t require a whole lot of any one individual - but collectively, the fund does an enormous amount of good.

There are others who already have helped this year’s Christmas Fund, including an anonymous donor who made a gift of $100 in October.

Mike and Jodi Walker and some of their Spokane friends gave $119, and an $111 check was received from Dorian Studio, 161 S. Post, after last year’s final Christmas Fund statement.

Also arriving too late for the 1994 fund, but in plenty of time for this year’s drive, was $50 from the Spokane Area Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants, a $50 anonymous gift, and $20 from the Espanola Homemakers Club in Medical Lake.

To help put yourself in a happy holiday spirit by giving generously and unexpectedly to a stranger, mail a check to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund, P.O. Box 516, Spokane 99210; or bring it to the editorial offices on the fourth floor of The Spokesman-Review tower, 999 W. Riverside.

Be assured that every portion of your gift goes for its intended cause; nothing is held out for expenses. Regardless if you give $100 or $10 or $1, every penny of every gift is used to help light up someone’s Christmas.

, DataTimes