Several thousand fans arrived at the Spokane Chiefs hockey game Saturday night prepared to do their part for the Christmas Bureau.
This was the plan: When the Chiefs scored their first goal against the division-leading Everett Silvertips, fans would toss teddy bears they brought for the charity onto the ice in celebration.
This is what happened: The Silvertips shut out the Chiefs. More than 3,000 fans sat patiently through nearly three periods and two Everett goals, waiting for the proper moment to toss their stuffed bears.
“About two-and-a-half minutes before the game ended, one fan just threw his bear onto the ice while the game was going on,” said the Chiefs public relations official, Jay Stewart. “The other fans took their cue from him and they all just threw out their bears.”
More than 3,050 teddy bears, and a few assorted other stuffed animals, rained down onto the ice, and the game was halted for 10 minutes while they were picked up and carted off. Stewart had already lined up 40 volunteers from the Lilac City Young Marines and the Spokane Valley Young Marines to gather the bears. The players and Chiefs administrative staff helped out.
Monday afternoon, Stewart delivered 2,500 of the teddy bears to the fairgrounds, where they will be given to children who come with their parents and grandparents to the Christmas Bureau. The remaining bears will be donated to other charities.
The bureau distributed 837 food vouchers worth $24,835, and gave out 1,381 toys Monday. The bureau will be open weekdays through Dec. 21 to give the makings of Christmas to needy area families.
It’s all funded by The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund, which received donations of $8,670.72, bringing the Christmas Fund to $140,032.52. Much more is needed if the fund is to reach its goal of $485,000, the amount required to pay for the food vouchers and toys given out at the bureau. Donations of all amounts are welcome.
Following are the donors from the daily tally and their donations:
The partners and employees of Moloney O’Neill Corkery & Jones, Inc., of Spokane, donated $3,000. “We hope that our participation will help provide a very merry Christmas for those in our community that are less fortunate,” wrote Frank O’Neill.
Greg and Ann Houghham, of Spokane, donated $1,000.
Laurie, Jessica and Katelyn Armstrong, of Spokane, donated $500 in memory of Mike Armstrong. Inland Fastening Systems Inc., of Spokane, gave $500.
Spokane Projection Service, Ltc., of Spokane, donated $300.
The Domineys, of Spokane, gave $250.
Madeline Buescher donated $242.45 through PayPal.
The Inland Empire Mustang Club sent $200. “Our club is the largest Mustang club in the area, with over 140 family memberships. We’ve been in existence for more than 20 years and actively support the community. Each year we typically donate to many worthy causes. Please accept our donation and use it to help those in need,” wrote Barry Barton, club president.
Suzy Dix, of Spokane, gave $200, as did Jim and Beverly Johnson, also of Spokane.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, and an anonymous donor, of Rockford, each gave $150.
The Vinje sisters, Prasti Purdum, of Lakewood, Ohio, Astrid Vinje of Togo, West Africa, and Michelle Vinje, of Seattle, donated $110.
Les and Georgene Patten, of Spokane, gave $100, as did Miriam and John Finnegan, Robert and Joyce Bublitz, and James and Sharman Watson, all of Spokane. Yvonne Hayes, of Spokane Valley, donated $100 in memory of her mother, Georgia Niemi. Cindie Smetana and her sister, Claudia Bjorklund, of Spokane Valley, donated $100, as did Don and Marilyn Lippman, of Otis Orchards. Helen Marksbury, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of her husband, Bob.
Colleen and Robert McNichols, of Spokane, donated $100, as did John and June Archambeault, of Veradale.
Carol Phelps, of Spokane, gave $75.
Lois Mundel donated $72.52 through PayPal.
An anonymous donor sent $65.
The Spokane Office of Administrative Hearing gave $52.50.
Betty Schroeder, of Airway Heights, sent $50, as did Raymond and Margaret Miller, of Spokane; Carol Lippman, of Otis Orchards; Diana Flory, also of Otis Orchards; and an anonymous donor, of Nine Mile Falls.
Sharon and Gary Randall, of Colbert, gave $50, “in thanks for their good friend Jake.” Jan, Lindsay and Kelly Patterson, of Spokane, sent $50 in honor of George and Marilyn Empey.
Scott Hall donated $48.25 through PayPal.
Jay, Jan, Christina and Greg Rudd donated $40 in memory of their uncle Ken Trent and their father/father-in-law/grandpa, Wally Rudd.
Evelyn Graves of Medical Lake, sent $30 in memory of her husband, William Graves.
Betty Thompson, of Spokane, donated $25, as did John and Sharon Hopper, Gary and Jan Huguenin, and an anonymous donor, all of Spokane.
Helen Hanshaw, of Spokane, sent $15 and a note: “A small amount, but it comes with my blessing to bring a smile to a little one’s face.”
Alice and Robert Lockhert, of Spokane, donated $10, as did an anonymous donor, of Spokane.
An anonymous donation of $100, previously reported, was given in memory of Tena and John Patterson, of Osburn, Idaho.