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Toys fly off shelves at bureau

The 250 sleds were delivered to the Christmas Bureau and flew out the door almost as fast as volunteers could unpack and stack them in the toy rooms.

The wooden guitars? Gone. Barbie Doodle Pros? Gone. Smithsonian telescopes, Dora’s Talking Backpack and Hummers that make noise? Gone, gone, gone.

That doesn’t mean the bureau is running short of toys, however. A truckful was unloaded into the toy warehouse at the bureau at midmorning on Thursday. Another truckload is due to be delivered late today. And thousands of toys remain stacked in rows, sorted by the intended age group.

In the first two days of operation, the bureau has given out toys for 4,758 children as well as food vouchers to 2,696 families worth $78,805. Wednesday was a big day because the bureau was open until 6:30 p.m. to serve the working poor. Thursday, the bureau distributed 752 food vouchers worth $23,585 and toys for 1,513 children.

The bureau closes today at 2:30 p.m. for the weekend and reopens Monday at 10 a.m. The charity is funded by The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund; donations of $12,599.65 bumped the fund total to $106,853.75.

The goal is $485,000, the amount organizers estimate will be needed. Donations of all amounts are welcomed.

The committee in charge of buying the toys this year ordered a conservative number of snow toys; last year when it did not snow, the sleds and snowboards remained on the toy tables until nearly the end of the charitable effort. This year, with last week’s snowfall, the snow toys are hot. Dozens of red plastic snowboards with rope handles remain, but inquiries by the toy committee about the availability of more sleds came up empty.

Still, every child in the needy families that come to the bureau will be given a Christmas toy.

“The Power Ranger Scooters and remote control cars are popular,” says Janelle Kortlever, one of the volunteer toy buyers. “The Auto Haulers with two cars came in today. We have real dart games and the older kids like the horseshoe games.”

Preteen girls seem to be favoring the bead-filled pillows – dogs, fish, elephants, bulldogs, hearts, and frogs.

Bob the Builder is getting attention from preschoolers. Boxloads of basketballs, regular footballs and glow-in-the-dark footballs, body pillows and fire trucks remain. There are Mighty Wheels with a carrying case, little red accordions, Star Wars starter sets and baseball gloves, ride-on ponies and carry-along Noah’s ark, Bingo and .com Monopoly games.

It’s festive; people are having a great time and for Spokane’s needy, it feels a lot like Christmas.

Following are the donors and their donations:

The Spokane Regional Plan Center sent $2,000 and a letter: “Since 1994, the Spokane Regional Plan Center and its members have been proud to donate to this most worthy cause. This year, we continue this tradition. Because of our concern that many may have already contributed all they could in response to this year’s natural disasters, we have increased our contribution to the fund,” wrote chairman Kelly Enders. “We further challenge other construction-related organizations to donate whatever they are able and hope all those in the community that are considering a donation keep in mind the families and children these donations benefit. These are not faceless causes thousands of miles away but rather our own neighbors. Someone once said charity begins at home, and we feel compelled to increase this year’s donation due to the overwhelming need.”

David and Carol Arnold, of Spokane, donated $500, as did Ed and Virginia English, and two anonymous donors, all of Spokane, and an anonymous donor, of Spokane Valley.

Fred and Norrine Potts and family, of Spokane Valley, donated $500 in memory of Jerry Potts.

Anonymous donors, of Liberty Lake, gave $350 in memory of their mothers, “who always made Christmas special.”

Mariann and Don Heineman, of Spokane, donated $300, as did Loretha Hitchcock, and two anonymous donors, all of Spokane. The Inland Empire Chapter of the American Ex-Prisoners of War sent $300 and a note: “Each meeting our members contribute what they can throughout the year. Our members are dwindling and we are very grateful those of us still here can support your worthy cause,” wrote commander Jerry Gleesing.

Peter and Sharon Fairchild, of Liberty Lake, brought $250 to the newspaper.

Jay and Birgitta Landreth, of Tum Tum, Wash., gave $200, as did Danial Baker, of Spokane, Bob and Debbie Glaza, of Spokane Valley; and Harry and Donna Fuhs, of Spokane, and an anonymous donor, also of Spokane.

Mary Ann Cooley, of Cheney, donated $200 in memory of her husband, John Cooley, who was killed in a helicopter accident in August 2004.

Richard and Lucille Hallet, of Spokane, gave $160.

Allan and Marian Morrison, of Spokane, sent $150, as did Erlene Manning, Bob and Almarie Burchell, and Alexis and John Chasse, all of Spokane.

Annette Kuntz, of Spokane, donated $125.

William Shugg gave $101.65 through PayPal.

Carl and Dennie Crow, of Spokane, gave $100 in honor of their parents, Mary Crowe and Hugh Dressel. “They both loved making sure children had a wonderful Christmas,” they wrote.

Lina Ryan, of Spokane, donated $100, as did Richard Myers, Kenneth Hines, Richard and Karen Steele, Marianne Daily, Vic and Lea Jones, and Robert and Carol Boisjolie, all of Spokane. Gary and Judy Spangelo, of Cheney, sent $100, as did Flo Fiveash, Bruce Calkins, John and Kathleen Langenheim, Bruce and Frances Rogers, and Ralph and Delores Hein, all of Spokane.

The Martha Guild of Plymouth Congregational Church, of Spokane, sent $100, as did an anonymous donor of Liberty Lake, and an anonymous donor of Medical Lake.

Jim and Sandy Hanson and family, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of Donna Hanson. “We know the Christmas Bureau was dear to her heart. We miss her,” they wrote.

Sam and Frederika Wetterhus, of Colbert, donated $100 in memory of their son, Bob, “to brighten this day for the less fortunate.”

David and Mary Larsen, of Spokane, donated $100, the winnings of an Apple Cup wager.

Gym and Nancy Flader, of Spokane, gave $100 in honor of their mothers. The Dan Simonson family gave $100 in memory of Stewart, Kent and Dorothy Simonson.

Charles and Ruth Hensley, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of their Christmas-loving children, Mary Schindler and Mike Winkler, they wrote. “Because of our wonderful grand and great-grandchildren, we hope this check will help give someone a merrier Christmas.”

Marian Miller, of Spokane, donated $75.

Doug and Bertha Jayne, of Spokane, gave $70.

Jim D. West, of Spokane, gave $60 in memory of Donna.

Robert and Barbara Jensen, of Spokane Valley, donated $50, as did James and Deborah Repp, Jim and Kate Jones, and Elizabeth Phillips, all of Spokane.

Jane Nulty, of Sandpoint, Idaho, sent $50, as did Ruedene Chandler, of Newport, Wash. Jacquie and Roy Hoffer and their grandchildren, Erin, Joseph and Matthew Hoffer, of Spokane, donated $50. The Ulibarri family sent $50 “in thanksgiving for many blessings received.”

Hattie Carroll, of Spokane, donated $50 in remembrance of Le Anne and John Lollis. April and Mike Stark, of Cheney, donated $50 in memory of their brother, Greg Stark, who died on Mount Rainier in May.

Jack and Jan Arkills, of Spokane, sent $50, and a note: “It is so hard to figure out what to get people each year. You have made it easy for us this year. Please accept $25 each for my brothers and their wives.”

Susan Watson Persyn, of Priest River, Idaho, donated $35 in memory of her son, Auzzie. Nettie Wright, of Spokane, also donated $35.

Robert and Marilyn Keen, of Liberty Lake, sent $25, as did Michael and Kathy Suenkel, of Spokane; Julia Rodgers, of Colfax; Mark and Cheryl Morrissey, Greta Thornbrue, and an anonymous donor, all of Spokane.

Charlotte Greene, of Spokane, gave $25 in memory of Frank Greene.

An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $10. An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $3.

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