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Bureau’s sleds sought, but accordions less so

Christmas shopping is never easy. When you’re buying for 16,000 children, it can be downright unthinkable.

Sally Quirk has the difficult job of guessing how many children will need toys from the Christmas Bureau and making sure there are enough to last through the two-week charitable effort.

If she underbuys, she has to run out and buy more toys, as she did Friday morning. If she overbuys, the bureau has to find storage for the excess or unpopular toys, as happened last year when a couple of hundred sleeping bags had to be stored until this year.

The other variable is that no one knows how many children of each age range will show up. Some years there’s great demand for toddler toys. Other years, toys for teens fly out the door.

That was the case in the first week of the bureau; teen gifts such as makeup kits and sleds were gone by midweek. Quirk bought enough teen gifts Friday morning to stock the toy room through next week. A couple of years ago, she said, teens weren’t interested in anything related to science. This year, the telescopes were snapped up.

“Art sets always do well,” Quirk said. “The classical wooden guitars are going well, the accordions not so well.”

Because of the snow early in the week, snow-related toys such as snowboards and sleds were popular. With the toddler set, Wiggles dolls and related toys – the Wiggles microphone and Wiggles guitar – are the hottest toys at the bureau.

All of this charity is paid for by generous Spokesman-Review readers and area businesses.

Today’s tally of $5,990 brings the Christmas Fund total to $153,417.52.

The following are the donations and the donors:

The senior management team and associates of Premera Blue Cross donated $3,000. “Premera is committed to the health and well-being of all the members of this community in which we work, live and play. We are proud to be able to help families in our community have a happier holiday through the Christmas Fund,” wrote Gail Keeling, vice president and general manager of Eastern Washington operations.

Rings & Things, of Spokane, donated $2,000. “Like many businesses, Rings & Things employees participate in a voluntary payroll deduction plan to make our Christmas Fund contribution nearly painless,” wrote owners Russ Nobbs and Dee Mueller. “Our thanks go to The Spokesman-Review and to the volunteers working at the Christmas Bureau for this annual opportunity to share with families in need.

“We are reminded daily that too many people in our community do not have an adequate income or decent housing,” the owners wrote. “We hope that our contribution will help the Christmas Bureau to make this a holiday filled with sharing and joy for all of our neighbors in Spokane.”

An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $110. Robert Breidenbach, of Spokane, donated $100, as did Don and Laura Bossart, of Spokane; Don and Marilyn Lippman, of Otis Orchards, Wash.; and an anonymous donor, of Spokane.

Dom and Denise Allessio, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of their sister, Bea Hills. Duane and Marnene Arkills, of Spokane, donated $25 for Jack and Jan Arkills and $25 in memory of Ann Arkills. Harriet Watkins, of Spokane, donated $50 in memory of her husband, Zeke, and son, Mike.

Mike and Elizabeth Caldwell, of Spokane, donated $50 in honor of the Robert Melgard family. Catherine Hill and the Caboose Alux friends, of Spokane, gave $45 in memory of Ruth Jolgen. Arthur Noskowaik, of Spokane, donated $25, as did Mary Richards, of Spokane; Sandy Quinn, of Liberty Lake; and an anonymous donor, of Spokane.

Adeline Thompson, of Spokane, gave $25 to thank all the police in Spokane for all they do. “My dear husband was one of them for years,” she wrote.

John and Deborah Melius, of Veradale, donated $25 in memory of Helen, Izzy and Frank. An anonymous donor brought $20 to the newspaper. Marial Willford, of Spokane Valley, donated $15.


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