Search the world over, and you’d probably not find a more preferable place to live than in the Spokane area.
For one thing, our four seasons are usually the best. It’s a rare ice storm that knocks the pins out from under us.
For another, the area’s beauty is hard to equal. We have it all: pristine lakes, deep forests, scab lands filled with fascinating rock formations.
But most of all, it’s the people of the Inland Northwest who make our corner of the world about the most perfect place on the planet.
When our neighbors hurt, our people are quick to help. When a tree is blown down in an elderly neighbor’s yard, someone is there, chain saw in hand, to turn destruction into a pile of firewood. And, when Christmas arrives and it’s evident that Santa won’t be able to visit children in thousands of homes in our city, thousands more contribute to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund.
Contributions come in all sizes - but they all have one goal in common: to help those among us who cannot help themselves at Christmas time.
Monday’s gifts to the fund totaled $7,490 for a year-to-date total of $16,003.51. Isn’t it wonderful to have reached that amount so early in the drive?
However, we can’t relax. Not yet. There’s a goal of $400,000 to reach, and only 21 days until Christmas. That means we need to receive more than $18,000 each day between now and then. That’s enough to take one’s breath away.
But we have faith it can be done.
Another remarkable thing about where we live is the willingness of those who received help when they needed it to return the favor when their lives become more stable.
That’s what Deborah L. and George X. Hale of Greenacres have done. They mailed a check for $100 with this note: “Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund. For many years, our family has had to receive help from our church and community center at Christmas time. This year, we are able to help others as we have been helped. It means a great deal to us to be able to pay back to the community what they so generously shared with us.”
Others who helped reach Monday’s total with handsome gifts of $500 were Jan and Gary Short, 8704 E. Sinto; H.W. Watts, 707 W. Fifth; and an anonymous donor.
Giving $200 were Hugh and Dotte Everhart, 6935 N. Douglass with this: “Thank you for helping us lend a hand to help the needy.” Dick and Trudy Raymond, 11923 S. Player Drive, donated $200 in memory of their parents, Eva Marie Raymond and Donald MacLeod Thomson; Lowell and Marion Severud, 12609 Fairwood Lane, wanted to “share some the blessings we have with those in the community who need help during this holiday season.” There was an anonymous $200 gift.
The Boart Longyear Co. of Salt Lake City donated $150 on behalf of its Otis Orchards branch.
Adam and Dianna Carpenter and their daughters, Kristina and Mary, 16 E. 25th., owners of Just A Trim Lawn Care, gave $125 with: “The holidays are a good time to give to those in need. The Christmas Fund and its volunteers are something we have always admired.”
Gifts of $100 came from: Stephen Scott, 2306 W. Riverside; Glen and Lorraine Lanterman, Otis Orchards; Clay and Elaine Swisher, 2328 S. Dishman-Mica Road; Joanne Smieja and Mark Hernick, 7206 S. Palouse Highway; James and Linda Barge, 10306 E. Valley Way, in memory of Harry and Gerry Barge; Ray and Ann Sampson, 304 W. Spruce Court, with this note: “We are happy to give to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund, hoping it will make many people happy.”
Also giving $100 were Caroline Delaney, 3414 E. 30th, “In loving memory of Henry and Laura Holling of Spangle”; Richard and Karen Steele, 1325 E. 20th; Bruce T. and Virginia Whitehouse, 1104 E. 26th; Carl Johanson, Spokane; Charlotte A. Jones, 326 W. Glass; William and Frances Johnson, 312 W. Hastings; Dr. Otto and Shirley Stevens, 7110 N. G Street; Loticia and Raymond Bunch, 3305 W. Wellesley, “In loving memory of our sons, Christopher and Vincent.”
Mr. and Mrs. Jack Saad, 4807 S. Hogan, sent in two $100 checks; Gary, Amanda and Nick Livingston, 2217 E. 46th, gave $100, as did Helen and Vigil Duchow, 5027 N. Oak; Mary Harrison, 5930 N. Wiscomb; Helen Bell, 2940 W. Circle Place; and Mr. and Mrs. Ed English, 1014 E. 29th.
Chuck B. Way, 806 S. Blake Road, gave $100 in memory of his wife, Maxine: “May it help someone have a little better Christmas than they might have had. It would please Maxine and myself. Thank you for making it possible for me to have a more satisfying Christmas than I might have had otherwise.”
Rose and Ray Hodgson, 2925 S. Howard, gave $100 as a way to say “Thanks to all the angels who helped” the couple during the ice storm.
Melvin J. Dowd, 1513 E. Cambridge Lane, gave $100, as did Charleen Brown, Bonners Ferry, who wrote: “Just happy to be able to share a little. My carrier was right there every morning, through the dark, walking in the snow, etc.” Clayton Durrant, 6009 N. Wiscomb, gave in memory of his wife, Luira.
Sarah and Frank Wasicek, Jr., gave $100 because, “We feel it is the best way to help because all of the money goes to the fund and not in someone’s pocket.” They made their donation in memory of Sarah’s grandmother, Carrie L. Edwards. “We miss you, Grandmother. God bless you!!” There were also four anonymous gifts of $100.
The Christmas Fund is unique in many ways, but none more appreciated than the fact there is no overhead to deduct from your donation. Every penny received is used for its intended purpose: To give each child, 18 and under, in each family a toy or game and to give each family a food voucher between $10 and $50, depending on family size.
That may not sound like much to some, but to those who receive it, it means a lot. Everything, in some instances.
Your gift is tax-deductible, since the newspaper only collects the money that is given in its entirety to three non-profit agencies who operate the Christmas Bureau: Salvation Army, Volunteers of America and Catholic Charities.
The bureau opens Tuesday, and will be in operation from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every weekday until Dec. 23.
Those seeking help are asked to bring proof of residency (a utility bill) and identification for each family member (medical coupons) to show everyone lives at the address.