Always there’s an urgency to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund. It’s a fingernail-biting affair every year, wondering if we’re going to make the goal that will provide a bit of Christmas cheer to our lowincome neighbors.
Every year, it becomes all the more urgent when Christmas draws near and the fund dips into the red. And we’re not talking Christmas red.
Stress happens when we’ve spent more money on toys and food vouchers than we have collected.
This year might well have us gnawing down to our cuticles, given the severity most Inland Northwest residents have experienced recently in simple day-to-day living - and the few days before Christmas arrives.
Not counting today, Christmas is 25 days away. That’s worth repeating: 25 days away.
A goal of $400,000 has been set by the three non-profit agencies - Catholic Charities, Salvation Army and Volunteers of America - that manage the Christmas Bureau. That’s where those in need go to receive a food voucher to help with Christmas dinner and a toy or game for each child in their family, up to 18 years old.
Each year, those involved with the newspaper’s Christmas operation shake in our collective Santa boots - those at the bureau and those at the newspaper - fearful we’ll not meet the goal and the bureau will have to close early, denying some children even a minimum of Christmas joy.
But every year our readers pull through and, more often than not, we meet or surpass the goal.
This year, Ice Storm ‘96 is another force to be reckoned with. It’s apt to make its presence known in the Christmas Fund. Its devastation can either hurt or help us.
The ice storm has been an incredible event to survive. Unfortunately, there are some among us who know all too well the lesson most of us learned: Everyday living can be just plain hard.
With each contribution made to the Christmas Fund, the newspaper publishes the donor’s name, address and the amount of their gift. It’s a way of saying “Thank you” for remembering others. However, if requested, the donation will be listed as anonymous and only the amount will be listed.
All contributions are tax-deductible since the money goes directly to the non-profit agencies. Nothing is held out of your contribution. Every cent goes to the fund.
That fact alone propels many people to support the Christmas Fund. They like knowing there are no operating costs. Everything - volunteers’ time, the building, the computers - everything is donated.
And money left over from one year is banked to use the next year.
Last year, some donors missed the Jan. 1 cutoff date, so that money will be used to help this year’s efforts. Others mailed checks all during the year.
In March, Rotary Community Service, Inc., mailed a gift of $750. In April came an anonymous check for $100.
Four checks arrived in memory of Jane Adams who died last June and asked that memorials be made in her name to the Christmas Fund: Johnson-Kieber gave $100 “in memory of our long-time friend and associate.” Lois Lasswell, 3302 S. Grand, mailed $50 “to the memory of Jane Adams, my dear friend for many years.” Carolyn Blackwell, Auburn, Wash., gave $25 in memory of “a dear friend for many years,” and Karen and John Schiffner Jr., 12108 N. Morton Drive, also donated $25 in Adams’ name.
Some 1995 contributors had matching funds made by their employees which also arrived throughout the year: George Schroeder, 5205 S. Cree Drive, had his $50 donation matched by his employer, Sedgwick James, Inc.
US West matched a gift of $260, and another for $25. The names of their employees were not cited.
Those gifts tally $1,385.
It’s a nice start. But it’s a tiny drop toward filling the fund since $400,000 is needed to help out this year. Actually, that amount may be low. It was made well in advance of our current predicament. It could very will mean more people will request help than if this were a “normal” winter.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: HOW TO HELP Christmas Fund donations can be sent to: Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund, 4th floor newsroom, 999 W. Riverside, Box 516, Spokane WA 99210.