More than 30,000 people across Eastern Washington and North Idaho will have a better holiday celebration tonight and on Christmas, thanks to generous donors who contribute to the Christmas Fund.
The Christmas Bureau gave out 15,210 toys for needy children, and $274,385 in food vouchers for holiday dinners. The bureau closed a week ago, but for two weeks thousands of people filed through the temporary bureau at the Spokane Fair and Expo Center to get help for the holidays. They left with sleds and dolls, soccer balls and books. The appreciation from the recipients was palpable as they wished the volunteers good cheer.
The bills for this grand endeavor still need to be paid. And that’s where readers of The Spokesman-Review and area businesses come in. Thursday’s tally of $16,731.22 bumped the fund to $427,134.65 – an amazing sum raised in just a few weeks. Bureau Chairman Bruce Butler and other organizers estimate $500,000 will be needed to pay for all that was disbursed.
While the Christmas charity would not be possible without generous readers, the effort also requires generous contribution of time by the volunteers who run the bureau. Butler wanted to offer his thanks to their devotion to making Christmas better for the area’s needy families.
“The bureau went smoothly because of the 250 volunteers,” he said. He talked with officials at the fairgrounds this week, where needy families continued to arrive, expecting to get toys and food vouchers. The bureau closes the week before Christmas so the volunteers can prepare for their own holiday celebrations. Butler says it would be very difficult to find volunteers to work through the day before Christmas.
“I would like to thank the volunteers, most of whom came four or five hours a day to work at the bureau,” said Butler. “But some people stayed all day, like Sally Quirk, Nancy Gillespie and Hal Ellis. And Father Frank Bach – he was there when I got there in the morning every day and turned on the coffee in the morning and stayed all day. I also want to thank Scooter Mahoney, who helped Karen Orlando, and Jeanene Powers.”
Donations of all amounts will be welcomed by the Christmas Fund through Dec. 30.
The following are the donations and the donors (online donations are indicated with an asterisk):
Acme Concrete Paving, of Spokane, donated $5,000.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane Valley, donated $1,500.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $1,000.
Greg Speer, of Spokane, gave $500, as did Jim and Sally Sledge, of Spokane; the employees of BPS Supply Co., of Spokane; the dental team of Drs. Jeff Hood and Blaine Dodson, of Spokane; and an anonymous donor. Another anonymous donor gave $500 in memory of Joe and Nellie.
C.G. and Arlene Horton, of Spokane, donated $400.
Mary and Bob Eckenrode, of Spokane, gave $300, “in gratitude for their children, Tom, Mark, Sara, Matthew, and Susan, and for their successful and happy lives.”
Steve and Sig Sanwick, of Spokane, donated $300.
Gina Nylund, of Veradale, gave $300 in memory of her sister, Vida Tarkington.
Tana P. Carosella donated $291.*
Larry and Joanna Kiewert, of Deer Park, gave $250.
Ross Printing Co., of Spokane, gave $200, as did Clark Hege, of Spokane; and two anonymous donors, also of Spokane. Sharon Powell, of Spokane, sent $200 in honor of her mother, June McGrath, and her boss, John Amistoso, “who has helped make this a good year.”
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, donated $150.
Richard Jeltsch, of Spokane, gave $125.
The staff of the Spokane Media Federal Credit Union donated $102.
The students and owners of Sylvan Learning Center, of Spokane, sent $102. “The students of Sylvan Learning Centers in Spokane, clearly demonstrating the gift of giving, have generously donated portions of their Sylvan tokens to the fund, with some students donating amounts which took them months to collect. Ray and Maggie Crawford, the owners, matched their donations,” wrote Nicole Prestley, director of education at Sylvan Learning Center.
David Byrnes, of Spokane, donated $100, as did Mike and Carol Sutley, of Veradale; John and Claudette Sayles, of Liberty Lake; Carol and Frederic Rettenmund, of Spokane; Steve and Karen Heaps, of Greenacres; and Barbara Brewster and the White Rose Chapter, of Spokane.
Paul and Constance Zimmerman, of Spokane, donated $100, as did Craig Aldworth and Kathryn Hobbs, of Spokane; Emily Wilsey, of Spokane; Tim and Vicki Halpin, of Colbert; Ainslia and Allan Toole, Paul and Norma Cottrell, Clayton Findlay, and two anonymous donors, all of Spokane.
Ron and Dora England, of Nine Mile Falls, gave $100 in memory of Dora’s dad, Leo.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $100 “on behalf of the group of terrific people I am privileged to work with each day, the Clinical Engineering Department at Sacred Heart Medical Center.”
Bill, Carley, Sue, Bill Jr., Tim and Rob Worstell, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of Howard Olson.
Douglas and Bertha Jayne, of Spokane, donated $80.
Richard and Delores Solberg, of Greenacres, donated $75.
Kevin Gilmore, of Spokane, donated $50, as did Ted and Louise Otto, of Cheney; Community of Christ-Spokane North; George Bayer, Barbara Williams, of Spokane; and two anonymous donors, both of Spokane. The H. Honda-Hirai family gave $50 in memory of Harry Honda. Charles Stewart, of Spokane, gave $50 in memory of Jimmy. John Remund, of Spokane Valley, sent $50 in memory of Jean Remund. Kirk and Tami Butters sent $50 on behalf of Grandma G.G.
Betty Bristol, of Mead, donated $50 in memory of her husband, Bob Bristol. An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $50 and holiday greetings to Dave and Emily Gordon.
Lee Kershner donated $48.25.*
Bryce and Cheryl Backus, of Spokane, donated $40 in memory of Jim Clark, Les Backus, Don Barnhouse and Dusty Dutt.
The Wild Women Investment Club, of Fairfield, Wash., gave $33.
Cheryl and Peter Hattrup, of Mead, donated $30, as did King and Yvonne Yim, in memory of Jack and Betty Quan.
Lois and Ben Merrill, of Cheney, gave $25 in memory of Ida McKinley, who died in early November.
Carolee Gray, of Hayden Lake, Idaho, sent $25, as did Donald Gale Jr. and Laurence and Judy O’Neal, all of Spokane.
Aaron Gauthier gave $23.97.*
An anonymous donor gave $1.