Two thousand years ago a baby was born, destined to change the world forever.
But his life began inauspiciously - without even a proper crib. He slept in a manger where animals usually found their food.
Then, people - rich and poor - heard about this child and brought gifts to him and his family, which made all the difference in their lives.
There’s nothing new in this version of the story of Jesus. As we all know, he grew up, destined to be sacrificed as the son of God. But before that happened, he taught the dozen men who worked with him all they needed to know to form a more just society for everyone.
It was he who said to love your neighbor … We can’t change the world, but we can change - for one day - the lives of poor children and their families.
Not as individuals, but collectively, as a caring society. As a community of people who truly care about children and their parents mired in poverty, and the elderly struggling to live on Social Security.
One person can’t do it alone. But one person’s gift, added to another person’s gift, added to a company’s contribution, added to … And it’s done.
No child will go without a toy on Christmas Day in this community. No family will go without a special meal.
So far, The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund has raised $326,478.07. On Saturday, $19,295 was counted toward the estimated $425,000 needed to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors who cannot help themselves this Christmastime.
So far, 6,007 people have received a bit of Christmas cheer from their neighbors at the Christmas Bureau; 11,345 children will have a toy to open; and $207,694 in vouchers have been distributed to help buy Christmas groceries.
Dr. Jim and Beth Brasch, 5919 W. Longfellow, have certainly helped make a difference with their gift of $3,000.
“As a physician, I have been blessed in many ways, probably no more than helping bring life into the world,” wrote Dr. Brasch.
“If we can give back just a fraction of the joy this has brought us, we will.”
The partners and employees at Moloney, O’Neill, Corkery & Jones Inc., 1206 N. Lincoln, contributed $2,000.
“Although we have not given in the past, we hope to make this an annual contribution,” wrote John Moloney Jr. “We are most appreciative that 100 percent of the amount contributed goes to help the less fortunate.”
Employees at Kimmel Athletic Supply Co., 202 E. Mission, contribute an amount from each paycheck during the year for the Christmas Fund, which is matched by the company.
They contributed $1,536 this year, with this note from Jim Kimmel and Bill Davis: “The Christmas holiday season is and should be a wonderful and joyous time of the year for all.”
The management and staff of WindStar Group Inc., 2607 S. Southeast Blvd., contributed $1,450, with “our hope that this will help others enjoy the Christmas holiday.”
Charles W. Haywood, 3825 E. 18th, donated $1,000 in memory of his wife, Alice.
The Robert E. Adams family, 8914 States Lane, sent in five checks totaling $625, with this note: “Our family decided this year instead of an adult gift exchange, we would rather donate to the Christmas Fund to share with others less fortunate.”
A donation of $500 came from the Winston & Cashatt law firm, Seafirst Financial Center.
Other $500 gifts came from members of Laborers’ Local 238, 1330 N. Calispel; Shirley Auble, 5704 S. Mohawk Drive; and all the employees at Inland Pacific Stamps and Marking Products, 215 W. Second, instead of exchanging gifts with one another.
Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 44 contributed $300 on behalf of its members, staff and officers; Jim Johnson, Cement Contractors, 1005 W. Bellwood Drive, also gave $300.
Shirley and Lew Schrawyer, Colville, sent $250 “in loving memory of my son, Erik Jon Wells. Erik left us as a child and Christmas is for children.” Unique Auto, 1428 E. Illinois, gave $250.
Donations of $200 came from Tom and Shirley Poage of T.P. Enterprises, 512 W. Wilson Lane; Mr. and Mrs. Al Schaeffer, 11605 N. Whitehouse; Al and Dorothy Hilfiker, 17523 E. Sixth, for their children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren; Joan and Larry Peden, 6410 N. Parkview Lane; an anonymous donor; and Ken and Joann Dunlop, 930 W. Cowley.
Bill and Chick Davis, 2232 E. 45th, gave $175 in the names of their seven grandchildren: Jessica, Katie, Scott, Christie, Jeff, Megan and Tanner.
There was an anonymous gift of $150; Dr. Brent Williams and staff of his family dentistry office in Veradale gave $125.
Gifts of $100 came from Firth Chew (who has a theater within Spokane Civic Theatre named after him); Lee Wakeman, 7007 N. Wiscomb; Boilermakers Local 242, 604 N. Pittsburg; Lillian Olsen, 7807 E. Maxwell; Leslie Dieckman, 2804 E. 30th; and Lois Snider, 1301 W. Montgomery, “in memory of my husband Ray and sister Irma Jean. They both loved children and always gave freely to families in need the year round.”
Don and Carolyn Fries, Mead, gave $100, as did Mr. and Mrs. Donald Schaeffer, 1014 W. 15th; Mr. and Mrs. R.H. Nyholm, Veradale; Roy Fink, 3119 W. 22nd; Lorraine Cannon of Klein Hansen Realtors, as thanks to her loyal clients and customers; and Tim, Grace, Shannon and Laura Davis “in the spirit of the real meaning of Christmas.”
“To help those in need to have a better holiday season,” Andrea and Travis Popp, Nine Mile Falls, gave $100, as did Gene Hubbell, 1707 W. Euclid, who contributed in honor of his parents, Clifford and Pearl Hubbell, and grandmother, Nanny Olson; and Lawrence Thayer, 2985 S. Waterford.
Others contributing $100 were Dale and Toni Gilliam, 715 E. Wellington Drive; Diane and John Latta, 808 W. 26th; Thomas and Virginia Lemon, 15421 Fircrest Circle; Walter Zahn, 8001 N. Country Homes; and Craig and Barbie Olson, 4511 S. Madelia, who gave “in the names of our good friends, John and Liz Little, and Dave and Patti Petersen - friends through the years,” and “in honor of two special, loving women, Elma Porter and Julia Millin. They make our lives better.”
Diane Drysdale, 223 W. Ninth, gave $100, as did R.W. Johnson, 3718 W. Beacon; Barbara Teters, 168 S. Coeur d’Alene; Gary and Carol Lawton, 6802 N. East Bluff Court; three anonymous donors; and Harold and Kasey Merkley, and Gail and Roberta Keeling, “in the name of Taylor Merkley, 1.
“We, his parents and grandparents, are fortunate enough to be able to provide for him anything he needs. We would like to help put a smile on another child’s face this Christmas.”