When it comes to the Christmas spirit, the Inland Northwest community has it. Just ask Rob McCann, executive director of Catholic Charities.
He tells this story: One of the workshops at the annual Catholic Charities executive directors’ meeting focuses on Christmas programs. Catholic Charities of Spokane partners with The Spokesman-Review and Volunteers of America to operate the Christmas Bureau at the fairgrounds.
“At the workshop, the directors sit at tables grouped by the number of people helped by their Christmas program,” McCann said of the September meeting in Minneapolis.
McCann headed for the table where those serving more than 30,000 people were seated.
The only people at the table were directors from Catholic Charities in Chicago and New York, he recounted. “They said, ‘Where are you from? Spokane? Don’t you mean 3,000 people?’
“I just said, ‘No, we serve more than 30,000 people at the Christmas Bureau,’ and I sat down,” McCann says. When everyone was seated, the group remained a table of three.
The Christmas Bureau distributes the fixings of Christmas to more than 30,000 needy people.
Yesterday, volunteers gave out 701 food vouchers worth $20,590, and 1,107 toys.
“We are at the halfway point of the Christmas Bureau,” said volunteer chairman Mike Reilly. “I am glad we are able to serve so many. It’s what we prepared for. Of course, we need more funding at this point.”
The Christmas Bureau efforts would not be possible without the generosity of the community. Donations to the Christmas Fund pay for the toys and food vouchers given out at the fairgrounds. Donations of all amounts are welcome. Donations of $14,935.51, including a generous donation of $7,500 from Kim Hotstart Manufacturing Co., bumped the Christmas Fund to $159,420.97.
The Kim Hotstart Manufacturing Co. donation was made on behalf of all the employees of the company. “I know that all of our employees and the community appreciate your effort to help those less fortunate than us during this holiday season,” wrote Jim Randall, vice president for manufacturing.
Following are the other donors and their donations:
An anonymous donor, of Hayden, Idaho, gave $500.
Laurene Dixon, of Spokane Valley, gave $350.
Pauline and Craig Soehren, of Spokane, donated $300, as did Jay and Birgitta Landreth, of Tum Tum, Wash. The Spokane Inland Empire Chapter of American Ex-Prisoners of War sent $300 and a note: “Once again we are happy to donate to your worthy endeavor. Each meeting, we ask our few remaining members to give to your cause. We, of all people, are thankful to be here and able to do this. So many of our comrades were killed in all wars to ensure you can carry on a worthy cause like this,” wrote commander Jerry Gleesing.
Eris Heggem, of Spokane Valley, gave $250. Robert and Robin Simpson, of Spokane, donated $250 in gratitude for their four sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. Keith and Kathleen Mackenzie and the World Affairs Council of Spokane donated $250, as did James and Linda Solan, also of Spokane.
Betty Bos, of Spokane, gave $200 in memory of her husband Richard. “He believed in this fund to help the less fortunate,” she wrote.
Patrick Ryan, of Spokane, and Daniel and Susan Ryan, of Auburn, Wash., donated $200 in memory of Judith Ryan and family.
Bud O’Neil and Dorothy McGlocklin, of Spokane, donated $200 in memory of their loved ones.
Joann Brown, of Spokane Valley, sent $200 and a note: “I’ve been giving 54 years in memory of Ed Brown.”
An anonymous donor, of Chattaroy, gave $152.
St. Joseph Catholic Church, in Metaline Falls, Wash., donated $150, as did Bruce and Ann Dentler, of Spokane.
Mary Bemis, of Spokane Valley, gave $125 in memory of Clyde Bemis.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $104.
James and Shirley Pugh, of Coeur d’Alene, donated $100, as did Janice D’Arc, also of Coeur d’Alene; Lee and Kathryn Irving, Mary Topp, and Don and Joan Morse, all of Spokane Valley; Robert and Colleen McNichols, of Spokane; Mark and Pip Witner, of Mead; Dan Travis, of Chattaroy; and Gary and Judy Spangelo, of Cheney.
Rod and Anne Hartman, of Coulee Dam, gave $100, as did Larry and Lena Lyon, of Nine Mile Falls, and Delores Taxter, Donald and Vicki Gorder, Franklin and Linda Browne, Steve Johnson and Anita Kernie, and three anonymous donors, all of Spokane.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane Valley, gave $100.
A $100 donation was made “from Christian friends.”
Theodore and Margaret Byers, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of Margaret’s dad, former state Sen. John L. Cooney.
Maxine Riches, of Spokane, sent $100 and a note: “Thanks to all the volunteers and Spokesman-Review for providing such a wonderful service to give the families in need a wonderful time at Christmas.”
Shirley Vulcano, of Spokane, donated $100 on behalf of her daughter, “who had stents put in her heart to help keep her alive.”
Mark Hoover and Cachet Fine Arts each donated $96.80 through PayPal.
Carol Phelps, of Spokane, gave $75.
Justin Propeck donated $50.92 through PayPal.
Don Nicholson and Sharon Kyle, of Spokane, donated $50, as did Mary and John Benham, and an anonymous donor, all of Spokane.
Angelo and Myrna Roman, of Spokane, gave $50 in memory of John and Lena Roman, “who always loved the season.”
Tamera Holdren, of Spokane, donated $50, “in memory of my dear mother, who taught me the spirit of giving and of gratitude to God for healthy children and grandchildren.”
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, brought $40 to the newspaper.
Vera Blackwell, of Spokane, donated $30, as did an anonymous donor, also of Spokane.
Neil and Betty Maxwell, of Spokane, donated $25, as did Daniel and Vivian Rohn, and Vern and Donna Knudsen, all of Spokane Valley; Arnold and Joyce Thompson, Jane Courtright, Brenda Margine and Scott Willegail, John and Sharon Hopper, all of Spokane; Victoria and Randy Bunke, of Deer Park; and Betty and Gary Hartford, of Cheney.
An anonymous donor, of Cheney, sent $10.