Generous donations totaling nearly $67,000 from 170 local companies and individuals have given the Christmas Fund a big boost. The fund grew to nearly $341,000, thanks in large part to Downtown Toyota, Lexus of Spokane and Downtown Honda, which gave $9,280; Cochrane and Company, which gave $7,500, and Metals Fabrication Co. and Premera Blue Cross, which each donated $5,000.
In addition, Walker’s Furniture gave $3,000. Vehrs Inc., Kimmel Athletic Supply and Rings & Things, as well as Dale Conboy and Eugene Fitzpatrick, each donated $2,500.
It takes a community-wide effort to reach the Christmas Fund goal of $485,000, the amount that organizers say will be needed to pay the bills for the Christmas Bureau. The bureau closes for the season at 2:30 p.m. today, and bureau chairman Mike Reilly predicts it will have distributed Christmas fixings to about 10,000 needy families through the 12 days the charity has been open at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center.
Tuesday, volunteers distributed $19,215 worth of food vouchers to 691 families and sent home Christmas toys for 919 children. Donations to the Christmas Fund pay for the toys, food vouchers and 16,000 bags of Christmas candy given out at the bureau.
While big donations are the backbone of this annual effort, making the goal requires community-wide generosity. Donations of all amounts are important to this community Christmas gift to its most needy residents.
Often, donors say their own memories of Christmas prompt their generosity.
Post Falls resident Louise Varner, 73, says she sent $25 because of the kindness of her local newspaper when she was a child. “I was 8 or 9 and my father, who passed away when I was 10, took me to a Christmas party sponsored by the American Legion, where my father was a member. With times being very difficult, most of us received very little for Christmas,” Varner wrote. Santa arrived and gave a wrapped gift and a bag of goodies, hard candy, nuts and an orange to each child.
“I unwrapped my gift and it was a beautiful maroon box with gold printing that read ‘Bingo Game.’ I enjoyed that gift so much,” she wrote. Later, she learned the gift was donated by the Pantagraph, the local paper in Bloomington, Ill. “It stuck in my mind all these years. Merry Christmas, little children,” she wrote.
Donations will be accepted through Dec. 28. Donors who wish to remain anonymous should indicate their wishes in a note accompanying their check.
Following are the donors and their donations:
The associates from Downtown Toyota, Lexus of Spokane and Downtown Honda are celebrating the season by donating $9,280, according to David Coombs and Steve Coombs. “We like the idea of giving to one fund that shares with so many families,” they wrote. “Each year the dealerships match what the associates contribute, making it a company-wide combined effort. We want to make the season merrier for many people. We hope that everyone has a great holiday season and a wonderful 2007.”
Cochrane and Company, of Spokane, sent $7,500 and a note: “During the Christmas season, it is inevitable that the focus on children, family, good will and generosity grows. And we know life is full of surprises and struggles. The employees of Cochrane and Company try to focus on the important things in life and the community, recognizing that life is fragile and that we need to appreciate what we have each and every day,” wrote Cochrane vice president Brian Carney. “On behalf of the employees at Cochrane and Company, we have enclosed a check for $7,500.”
Metals Fabrication Co., of Spokane, donated $5,000. “We appreciate the efforts all the organizations involved are making in order to ensure that everyone has a merry Christmas,” wrote Sara Weaver-Lundberg.
Premera Blue Cross, of Spokane, donated $5,000. “I am pleased to enclose a check for $5,000 on behalf of the Senior Management Team and associates of Premera Blue Cross,” wrote Gail Keeling, vice president and general manager for Eastern Washington Premera operations. “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.”
Walker’s Furniture, of Spokane, donated $3,000. “There are many people within our community that have had great misfortunes and may need a little something extra to help them through the Christmas season,” wrote Walker’s Furniture president and CEO Mark Walker. “We in Spokane are fortunate to live in a city that will extend its hand to any in need. It is my hope that each person within our community will open their hearts and give what they can to help. This holiday season let’s enter into the true meaning of the season. Let’s join together and spread the joy and hope of Christmas,” he wrote.
Dale Conboy, of Spokane, donated $2,500, as did Thomas Murphy, president of Vehrs Inc., on behalf of Vehrs Inc., of Spokane, and its employees.
Eugene Fitzpatrick, of Spokane, also donated $2,500.
Russ Nobbs and Dee Mueller, owners of Rings & Things, of Spokane, sent $2,500 contribution and a letter: “The employees, management and owners of Rings & Things are again pleased to make a contribution to this year’s Christmas Fund. We hope this late contribution will encourage others to make additional donations so this year’s fund can reach the goal,” they wrote.
“Like many businesses, Rings & Things employees participate in a voluntary payroll deduction plan to make our Christmas Fund contribution nearly painless. With an additional match from the owners, we are able to contribute $2,500 to the fund as well as give support to several other community concerns. 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.”
Kimmel Athletic Supply Co., of Spokane, also sent $2,500 and a note: “Christmas traditions include trees, lights, family dinners and presents under the tree. For the employees of Kimmel Athletic, The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund has become one of our traditions. We are proud to be part of this community-wide display of true Christmas spirit,” wrote Brian Davis, of Kimmel
John, Kristi, Kerry and Sully Blake, of Spokane, donated $1,000.
Safway Supply Inc., of Spokane, also sent $1,000 and a note: “We at Safway Supply Inc., are again pleased to donate to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund. We do this each year instead of mailing Christmas cards to our customers. Christmas cards are soon forgotten and we know there are people in the area that need our help, we hope this will help brighten someone’s holiday,” wrote Safway Supply president Patrick Thomas. Lester and Lynnette Wolff, of Mica, sent $800.
An anonymous donor, of Chattaroy, Wash., sent $650.
The Dow Investment Club, of Spokane, donated $605. “We are thankful for the work you do to create happy memories for families in our area,” they wrote.
Linde Ashlock and Susan Boyd, of Liberty Lake, sent $500, for Denny. “Thank you to everyone for all you do,” they wrote.
Sue Kilpatrick, of Bayview, Idaho, donated $500, as did Jeff and Kim Brown, of Mead; Jack and Kathleen Ossello, Raymond Kwik, and Jim and Salli Sledge, all of Spokane; Jim and Terry Coombes, of Nine Mile Falls; The Fairholme Fund, of Southeastern, Penn.; Ryan Baddeley, of Liberty Lake; and an anonymous donor, of Spokane Valley.
Commerical Grading Inc., of Otis Orchards, sent $500 to thank all the volunteers for the great job they do.
Donna Hares, of Spokane, sent $500 in memory of her husband, Donald W. Hares.
Carol Pierre gave $485.20 through PayPal, as did Spokane ENT.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $400 in memory of Mom and Peggy. Reta Wilhite, of Spokane, sent $400 in memory of her husband, Claud, who passed away this year. Two anonymous donors, both of Spokane, sent $400.
The Spokane Alumnae Chapter of Alpha Iota donated $318.
Donald and Mariann Heinemann, of Spokane, donated $300, as did Clay Vern and Andrea Clausen, of Spokane. Gail and Roberta Keeling, of Otis Orchards, donated $300 in honor of their grandsons, Taylor Merkley, and Kolby and Ryan Keeling.
The staff of Bernardo/Wills Architects, of Spokane, donated $295.
Michael Brandt gave $291 through PayPal, as did Thomas Hall.
Michael and Roseann Lemberger, of Spokane, gave $250, as did Joanna and Larry Kiewert, of Deer Park; two anonymous donors, both of Spokane; and an anonymous donor, of Liberty Lake.
Joyce Stefanoff, of Spokane, gave $200, as did the Inland Empire Mustang Club, Carl and Anna Rabe, Kathy and Bruce Bixler, Kathy and Andre LaSalle, Barry and Carole Jones, and an anonymous donor, all of Spokane; an anonymous donor, of Spokane Valley; and an anonymous donor, of Spirit Lake, Idaho.
Tudy and Larry Hatch, of Spokane, gave $200 in honor of their parents and grandkids.
Gini Thomson, of Spokane, donated $200 in memory of her lost love, Joe. Wesley and Dorothy Newbill, of Otis Orchards, donated $200.
Marian Cummings donated $193.90 through PayPal.
Bruce Calkins, of Spokane, donated $150, as did Helen Bell, and an anonymous donor, both of Spokane, an anonymous donor, of Cheney; and an anonymous donor, of Veradale.
Ken Burtch donated $145.35 through PayPal.
The Dixons, of Spokane, sent $125.
William and Thelma Johnson, of Heron, Mont., donated $115.
An anonymous donor, of Veradale, gave $105.
Carol and Ed Goss, of Spokane, gave $101 in honor of their dear friends Cyndee Northrop, Phyllis Northrop and Gerry Parsons. “These folks have done so much for so many over the years, without any fanfare or thought of compensation. We take this opportunity to appreciate them publicly and to contribute to a fund we are all fond of. Keep up your good work at the holiday time. You are important to the lives of those in need,” they wrote.
Candy and Ronald Loomis, of Colbert, donated $100, as did Norma Echelbarger, and Robert Mueller, both of Spokane Valley; Jan Sajway Jerusalem, of Moscow, Idaho; and an anonymous donor, of Mead.
Karl and Audrey Schott, of Spokane, donated $100, as did Brent Hoogner and Gay Waldman-Hoogner, Juanita and Robert Rousselle, Robert Harwood, Darlene and Jerry Ashby, Julie and Mark Nevdahl, Andrew and Dorri Rolwes, Paul and Elizabeth Kennar, Greg and Janice Britton, Suzi Fogelquist, Vic and Lea Jones, L.W. and Patricia Hibdon and eight anonymous donors, all of Spokane.
David and Sharon Cloutier, of Nine Mile Falls, donated $100.
Jim and Lisa Northcott, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of Andrew. Glenna Bayne, of Spokane, sent $100 in memory of her husband, Brian L. Bayne, who died Nov. 20. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lingow, of Spokane, sent $100 in memory of their parents and daughter. An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $100 in memory of Lisa Portrey and Garth Mason.
Lloyd and Pat Bobyseed, of Spangle, Wash., donated $100 in memory of their parents, George and Marjorie Bobyseed and Dick and Eve Sterett. Phyllis Eide, of Spokane, donated $100 in honor of her mother, Jacqueline Eide, of Odessa, Wash. “She taught for over 30 years in the Odessa School, and every year she involved her students in donating to the Fund. In retirement, she continues to support the Fund and many other worthy causes in our area,” wrote Eide.
William and Laura Reilly and their children, Grace, John, Julia and Michael, of Lagrange, Ill., sent $100 and a note: “Keep up the great work Grandpa Mike.”
Joe and Carolyn Schauble, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of Carl and Edna Magee, and Robert and Mary Schauble.
Virginia Boyles, of Spokane Valley, sent $100 in memory of Donald Boyles, “a longtime contributor to the Christmas Fund.”
The Inland Northwest Freethought Society sent $100 and a letter: “In support of the idea of giving help and comfort to those who are struggling in this world, which is a natural impulse of so many believing and non-believing persons around the world, our small group of atheists, agnostics and humanists wishes to join others in the festive and forgiving air of this holiday.”
Connor and Jamie Spawn, of Spokane, donated $100 in honor of Mrs. Donovan, Mrs. McCann and Mrs. Coulter, their teachers at St. Thomas More School.
Margaret Miller, of Spokane, sent $100 on behalf of her bell quartet. “Our bell quartet enjoys playing bell concerts all over town and donating money to The Spokesman-Review Fund to help as many people as possible,” she wrote.
Tim Halpin donated $96.80 through PayPal.
Amy and Robert Lutz, of Spokane, donated $75, as did William Moldovan, Edna Gump, and Bill and Dorene Reynolds, all of Spokane.
June and John Sine, of Spokane Valley, gave $60 for the blessings of their six grandchildren, Riley, Brock, Bryndon, Olivia, Thomas and Braxton.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $60.
The Viking Whist Club, of Spokane, donated $58.25.
The food and beverage supervisors of Northern Quest Casino, of Medical Lake, donated $50, as did the staff of 7-South at Sacred Heart Medical Center, of Spokane; Patricia Earley, Christel Carlson, Marsha Hansen, Joyce and Robert Bublitz, Russell and Betty Hite, and Nancy MacKerrow, all of Spokane.
Harold and Diane Watters, of Cheney, sent $50, as did Joan Overnorff, of Otis Orchards, Michael and Kristin Nester, of Cheney; four anonymous donors, of Spokane; an anonymous donor of St. John, Wash., an anonymous donor, of Liberty Lake; and an anonymous donor, of Lacey, Wash.
Albert and Shirley Reisig, of Spokane, donated $50, as did Arlen Ristuben, and Jeffrey and Judy Koons, all of Spokane; and Beth and Peter Weller, of Spokane Valley.
Tom and Sue Eastman, of Spokane Valley, gave $50 in honor of their grandchildren. Theresa Hansen, of Spokane, sent $50 in memory of her mom, Eileen Hansen. Monica, Dale, Jacob, Jeremy and Jillian Headley, of Mead, sent $50 and a note: “This is our first year donating to the Christmas Fund. Each year we read all the stories that come with the donations and are moved by them. Each year we say we are going to donate and don’t. We are adding the Christmas Fund to our list of traditions. Thank you for providing the fund.”
J. Patrick Byorth, of Billings, gave $50 in honor of Judy and Bruce Butler, of Spokane.
Jeff and Eileen Anderson, of Spokane, donated $50 on behalf of Mazie and Snooper.
Del and Donald Ladd, of Spokane, gave $50 in gratitude for their blessings. “It has been one year since my husband survived a ruptured brain aneurysm,” she wrote. The Gilliam family, of Spokane, sent $50 in memory of husband and father, Jay Gilliam. George and Bobby Stevens, of Spokane, sent $50 and their thanks to all volunteers who help others.
An anonymous donor gave $48.25 through PayPal.
Jean Peterson, of Greenacres, sent $40, as did an anonymous donor, of Spokane.
An anonymous donor gave $38.54 through PayPal.
Bruce and Marcia Plewman, of Spokane, donated $35, as did Evelyn Graves, of Medical Lake, in memory of William H. Graves.
C.E. Lewis, of Spokane, sent $35, as did an anonymous donor, also of Spokane.
Harvey and Mona Porter, of Spokane, gave $30, as did Ronald and Connie Hedrick, and Heather McFarland, also all of Spokane; Claudia and Richard Kroll, of Nine Mile Falls; and Kristine Nestoss, Willard Wormuth and Joseph Wormuth, of Greenacres.
Ken and Susan Almon, of Nine Mile Falls, sent $25, as did Donald Gale Jr., Margaret Swanson, Roger Pat French, Nancy and D.E. Fairburn, and an anonymous donor, all of Spokane; Mrs. N. Thompson, of Spokane Valley; and an anonymous donor, of Medical Lake.
Margaret Knapp, of Spokane, donated $25 in memory of the Johnson family. Dorothy Stuart, of Spokane, gave $25 in memory of Max Stuart. Bobbie Wallace, of Spokane, sent $25 in memory of Tammi Young, Bunky Hendrickson, and Louise Spies.
Mackenzie and Madison, of Spokane, sent $25 and wishes for a Merry Christmas to Uncle Jason.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $25 in honor of Irene Horrigan.
David Dean donated $23.97 through PayPal, as did fresh-air2.com llc.
Estellene Shaver, of Spokane, donated $20 in memory of her parents, Aaron and Mildred Keegan, “who delivered the Spokane Chronicle and Spokesman-Review for 30 years.”
Cecil and Norma Loveland, of Spokane, donated $20, as did James and Jean Supinger, of Medical Lake; Faye and Wes King, of Odessa, Wash.; and an anonymous donor, also of Spokane.
Cyra Carlson, of Spokane, sold farm-fresh eggs to raise $10 for the Christmas Fund.
Yung Dao, of New York, donated $10, as did an anonymous donor, of Spokane.