Merry Christmas, Les and Clara Randall.
Your son and his wife, Gary and Sharon Randall of Chattaroy, donated $225 to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund in your names as their Christmas gift to you.
What a perfect present.
This loving gift - wrapped in an envelope and delivered to the newspaper with a stamp - gives Les and Clara the bonus of generously giving to others.
Christmas Fund donations like this make one think all really is right with the world. What exceptional parents Les and Clara must have been to have raised a a child like Gary who has, with Sharon, the sensitivity to think of others.
The Randalls’ Christmas gift brought Monday’s total to $1,135, for a running total thus far of $4,991.81.
It’s going to take many, many more generous gifts, however, to make sure every Spokane child has a gift to open and something special to eat on Christmas Day.
After much figuring and refiguring, Christmas Bureau officials - administrators of the three non-profit agencies that buy and distribute the gifts - estimate it will take a minimum of $380,000 to meet the need.
And that’s a belt-tightening figure.
If the fund could raise $415,000, there would be more breathing room. But Ken Trent, administrator of the Volunteers of America and Christmas Bureau chief, said this year’s needs could be realized with the lower figure. But barely.
There are just so many people to help.
Times are harder this year than last for families living on low incomes. For one thing, there isn’t as much money to help them pay the high costs of heating, lighting and bringing water into their houses.
Trent doesn’t like to “harp” about the needs of his clients. But those needs are the realities of the 1990s, and even more than harping, he does not want to see these people go totally without at Christmas - especially the children.
The Christmas Fund’s “defined mission” is simple in fact: “To make Christmas a brighter day by providing help with Christmas dinner and a new toy or game for each child 18 years and younger.”
The mission only gets complicated because it takes so much money to help the many who struggle so hard.
But, if enough people give what they can afford, the mission’s implementation would be as simple as its definition.
Others who contributed to Monday’s total are the U-Save Insurance Agency Inc., 901 E. Boone, $250; an anonymous donation of $150 came from Opportunity; Mr. W.O. Pemberton, 3520 W. Elmhurst, sent $100; and an anonymous $100 gift was also received.
Art and Peggie Reese, 13504 E. Fourth, sent $50 with this note: “It’s impossible to give to all of the requests. We feel this is one of the most worthwhile.”
Grandmas know what Christmas is all about - and members of Spokane’s Grandmothers Club of Washington are no exception. With their $50 contribution, Jean Place, treasurer, wrote: “Every year the grandmothers give to local charities around Christmastime. We are a small group of grandmothers and hope by giving this check to you, we might help others enjoy and have a happy Christmas. Thank you for coming to our assistance in this project.”
Linda and John Muir, Cheney, sent $40; Eddie Heavner, 2121 W. Fourth, $30; Charles Heitman, 3717 E. 30th., sent $25 in memory of his mother, longtime Spokane doctor Marjorie Heitman, “to bring some holiday cheery to the needy recipients.”
Louise B. Holmes, Othello, gave $25 in memory of Del Holmes; and the Rev. and Mrs. Victor Buksbazen gave $25 in memory of his mother, Lydia Buksbazen. An anonymous gift of $25 was also received.
Gary Allen, 13223 E. Guthrie Drive, gave $20; Mabel Mccosh, 1600 W. Pacific, $10; Betsy Hartman, 4020 W. Longfellow, sent $10 “to help our community with Christmas this year. I’m a senior at Shadle Park and am wanting to do new things, like give money. Have a Merry Christmas.”
One benefit of giving to the Christmas Fund is that all of your donation goes to the Christmas Fund. No money is held out for administrative costs. None.
The money buys Christmas presents for every child in a family and pays for food vouchers so they can have a more festive meal.
The Christmas Bureau, where the gifts and vouchers are distributed, is maintained by three non-profit agencies: the Volunteers of America, the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities. The newspaper serves only as a collection agent for these groups.
The gifts are tax-deductible.
As a way of thanking the donors, their names, addresses and gift amounts are published in the newspaper, unless anonymity is requested.
Won’t you consider giving to the Christmas Fund?
Maybe your mom would prefer a gift given to others rather than another sweater she’ll tuck away in a drawer; or Uncle John might just as soon contribute to the joy of a child’s Christmas than receive a bottle of after-shave lotion just when he’d decided to grow a beard.
Many creative reasons to give can be conceived. Why not put on your family’s collective thinking cap as you sit around the dinner table tonight and come up with a reason that’s unique to you?