Fifty-two elementary and middle-school students from Riverside School District will help usher in the holiday spirit when the Christmas Bureau opens in a week at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center.
The Riverside Select Choir, composed of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from Chattaroy Elementary and Riverside elementary and middle schools, is one of a number of community groups that will sing carols during the 12 days the charity will be open.
Volunteers of America and Catholic Charities partner with The Spokesman-Review in the operation of the Christmas Bureau. The charity gives grocery store vouchers, toys and children’s books to the area’s needy people. The Spokesman-Review’s Christmas Fund pays for the vouchers and toys, and Volunteers of America donates 20,000 children’s books.
Donations totaling $1,535 have bumped the Christmas Fund past $38,000, still well short of the goal of $485,000. Donations of all amounts are welcome.
As evidenced by the Riverside choir, not all donations to the effort are monetary.
“These kids have been practicing from 7 to 7:45 every Wednesday morning since September,” said Riverside Elementary choir teacher Karen Baldwin. The group is named the Select Choir because the students must audition. “Everyone makes the group, though,” Baldwin said. “If they are willing to come sing every Wednesday morning at 7, they should be in the choir.”
The choir will sing traditional carols for the hundreds of people who come to the bureau on the opening morning of the charity. The schoolchildren will spend the remainder of their Saturday caroling and singing at NorthTown Mall, and several retirement centers and nursing homes.
“The choir sang at the bureau last year,” Baldwin said. “When we started working on the carols, the kids asked if we were going back to that place where they give food away. They didn’t know the name of the Christmas Bureau, but they remembered how much they loved being there.”
Following are the recent donations and their donors:
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $500.
The family of H. Earl Davis, of Spokane, gave $300 in his memory.
Assistants, of Spokane, sent $250 and a note: “Assistants’ purpose in the community is to inspire, promote, assist and aid in the development of education, art, literature, music and the general welfare of the Spokane community. We also volunteer our services for many nonprofit organizations in need of people to help with many tasks. Thanks for the wonderful service the Christmas Fund does every year.”
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $200.
Nancy Stone, of Spokane, sent $100, as did Jennifer and Howie Stalwick, of Post Falls.
Gene and Jackie La Liberte, of Liberty Lake, donated $50.
An anonymous donor, of Priest River, Idaho, sent $25.
Shirley and Frank Scalise, of Mead, gave $10.