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Families pour into bureau for holiday gifts, treats

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Streams of people came to the Christmas Bureau for help again Tuesday, but organizers again were unable to say how many were served in the first two days because of computer problems.

Needy people began lining up at the doors of the bureau at 7:30 a.m., hours before the bureau’s 10 a.m. opening. Volunteers did the paperwork by hand until nearly noon, when the computer system was operational again.

“By 1 o’clock it was still pretty hairy,” said Bruce Butler, bureau chairman. “It was not one of those days that you want to have too many of them in a row.”

But hundreds were served. And all of the recipients’ information will be entered into the database in the coming days.

By the time the bureau opened, more than two dozen people in wheelchairs lined up at the check-in table for people with disabilities. One woman in a wheelchair lost track of the person who brought her and began shouting her name. Soon, others waiting in line took up the chorus.

The young women volunteering from Lewis and Clark High School on Monday began leading the recipients in singing Christmas carols when the computers crashed and distribution was halted.

The inconvenience of waiting in line a little longer did not dampen the enthusiasm of needy parents when they reached the toy rooms. “The sleds are flying out of here,” said Sally Quirk, who is in charge of buying toys for the charity.

Also popular with parents this year are the makeup kits for teenage girls, the Stratego Lord of the Rings game, 50-power telescopes, lava lamps, wooden guitars, Disney dolls, Spider-Man and Dora the Explorer scoot-boards, and the shake, giggle and roll balls for babies, Quirk said.

The bureau will be open today from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. for the working poor. The bureau, at the Spokane fairgrounds, will continue to distribute the fixings of Christmas on Thursday and Friday and Dec. 13-17.

The other end of this is the funding effort, The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund. Generous donations of $29,630.32 boosted the fund to $87,521.30 on Tuesday. Much more is needed if the fund is to reach the $500,000 needed to pay for all of the toys and food vouchers distributed at the fairgrounds. Donations of all amounts are welcome.

The following donations are part of the $29,630.32 tally. Online donations are denoted by an asterisk.

Edna Gump, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of her husband, Robert Gump.

Phyllis Brooks, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of her husband, William H. Brooks.

Paul and Roger Clark, of Spokane, donated $100 in honor of Paula’s mother, Barbara Owens.

Ba Thi Pahn and A. Van Nguyen, of Spokane, donated $100, as did Gail Harper, of Spokane; Leslie and Donna Dieckman, of Rathdrum; Ralph and Dolores Hein, of Spokane; Ken and Helen Evans, of Mead; and Tom and Mary Anna Bryan, of Spokane. John and Janice Stanley, of Medical Lake, Wash., donated $100, as did Les and Judy Buchholz, of Spokane, Walter and Marian Nelson, of Spokane, and three anonymous donors.

Steve and Judy Mongelluzzo, of Spokane, sent $100, as did R.W. and Kay Brightman, of Colville; Joe and Pam Ridlington, of Mead; and Yetta and Burl Gray, of Spokane. John Hocking, of Spokane, sent $100 in memory of Pauline B. Hocking. An anonymous donor gave $100 in memory of Lisa Portrey and Garth Mason. Loren Gothberg, of Spokane, sent $100, as did Sheri and Kim Barnard, James and Carol Kershner, and Lawrence Smelser, all of Spokane. Gail and Viola Burchett, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of Tim.

Beverly and W.E. Southern, of Greenacres, donated $100, as did Paul and Peggy Smart, of Spokane Valley; and Davy and Joanne Adamson, also of Spokane Valley.

E.A. Grindal, of Spokane, brought $84 to the newspaper.

George and Ruth Swan, of Spokane Valley, donated $75, as did Edward and Eileen Looker, of Spokane Valley.

Barbara Crawford and Tom Highland sent $50, as did Jacqeuline Whipps, Todd Hamm, Paul and Eunice Petersen, and Jean Flechel, all of Spokane, and Jack and Mareldine Blake, of Coeur d’Alene.

Skip and Sharon Boyer, of Spokane Valley, sent $50, as did the Selkirk Ski Club, North Wall Schools, of Spokane; and Mike and Merridy McChesney, Robert and Julia Roberts, Richard and Sherry Shulkin, Robert Goldsworthy, William and Virginia Selzer, Victoria Dunn, and Bud and Doris Anderson, all of Spokane.

The Gilliam family, of Spokane, gave $50 in memory of Jay Gilliam.

Brian Schreck, of Spokane, sent $50 in memory of his parents, Mabel and Carl Schreck.

Eleanor Alderman, of Spokane, sent $50 in memory of her husband, Lacy Alderman, “who always wanted to help all he could,” Alderman wrote.

Bud and Doris Anderson, of Spokane, donated $50, as did Marge Probst and Sandra Picicci, Kenneth and JoAnne Duncan, also all of Spokane. Four anonymous donors, all of Spokane, each gave $50, as did an anonymous donor from Loon Lake, Wash., in memory of Jim.

Michael and Melinda Hirst, of Spokane, gave $50 in honor of their children, John, Katie, Joe and Sam. “They have always made our holidays special, and we would like to help other parents celebrate with their children,” wrote the Hirsts.

Bruce and Marcia Plewman, of Spokane, sent $35, as did Judy and Joseph Van Houtan, of Spokane, in memory of their son, Joseph A. Van Houten II.

Lawrence Smith, of Spokane, donated $30, as did an anonymous donor, also of Spokane. Yvonne Hayes, of Spokane Valley, sent $30 and a note: “I know every bit provides for so many and I cherish this fund,” she wrote.

Ed McCormack brought $25 to the newspaper. Jeannie Greene, of Spokane, also gave $25, as did E.M. Stewart, also of Spokane; the Employees of the Spokane County Construction Department, in memory of Helen Spitler, the grandmother of fellow employee Kerry Jacobson. Janet Biggs, of Spokane Valley, sent $25, as did Anne Scott, Billy and Eileen Benge, Dick and Judy Gammon, and Ronald and Connie Hendrick, all of Spokane.

Floyd Stewart, of Loon Lake, Wash., donated $25, as did Elaine Freeman, Betty Collin, Jerry and Luce Bisher, Wayne and Nancy Wright, and Bernard and Lillian Quaid, all of Spokane. Six anonymous donors each gave $25.

Zella Munden gave $23.97 in memory of her daughter, Mary Violet Munden Nehring.*

William Silverthorne, of Spokane, donated $20, as did Robert and Linda Schroeder, of Spokane Valley, Chris and Carla Biesen, of Spokane; Virginia Brunette, of Coeur d’Alene; William and Lilli Weber, Jim and Katherine Rowse, and the Sandy Sue Garden Club, all of Spokane.

Ron Anderson, of Spokane, gave $15.

Dianne Cook, of Spokane, sent $15 and a note: “I have chronic health problems. Income is uncertain and funds are always in short supply. But when I compare myself to the people in most of the rest of this world, I am rich beyond belief. So I share, in gratitude for blessings abundant,” she wrote.

Robert and Catherine Jewell, of Spokane, sent $10, as did USA Wrestling Inland Northwest.