The sheer volume of poor people coming to the Christmas Bureau for help with their holidays continues to surprise bureau organizers.
On the second day of operation, the bureau gave the fixings to make Christmas brighter to 992 families. Toys were given to 1,603 children, and food vouchers totaling $30,525 were distributed.
“I am surprised by the amount of people coming who are trying to make ends meet but they need help at Christmas,” said Theresa Dryden, Catholic Charities coordinator of the bureau, held at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. “I am also surprised at the number of working poor. I worked at the front desk of a hotel, and I recognized a couple of the housekeepers from there going through the line. I thought there would be more homeless. This just tells you of the huge need of the working poor in Spokane.”
Dryden joined Catholic Charities staff in October, so Saturday’s record-setting day at the bureau was her first experience with the charity.
“I knew Saturday would be big, but I didn’t expect the line to reach to Havana (Street),” she said.
At one point, 30 children were in the child care area, Dryden said.
“I’ve done events before, but this is like a marathon event,” she said.
Several high school students joined the volunteers Monday, looking for community service hours required by their schools. Brittney and Brianna Belote, from Rogers High School, and Tiera Cominos, from Lewis and Clark High School, worked their five-hour shifts in child care. Rogers students Craig Young, Trung Pham and Tony Moua helped recipients carry bags of toys to the parking lot, and Rogers junior Darrien Mack assembled Turbo Trikes.
“It’s pretty fun,” Moua said. “It’s not boring, so that makes it good community service.”
The toys and food vouchers distributed at the bureau would not be possible without generous donations to the Christmas Fund, which pays for the effort. Donations of $19,950 brought the fund to $154,798, still well short of the goal of $485,000. Donations of all amounts are welcome.
Following are recent donations:
Northwest Farm Credit Services, of Spokane, sent $5,000 and a note. “On behalf of the Northwest Farm Credit Services, we are happy to be able to give back to the community and contribute again this year to help the many families in need at this special time of year. Thanks for the opportunity to help with this very worthwhile fundraiser,” wrote Jay Penick.
Metals Fabrication Co., of Airway Heights, also donated $5,000. “Metals Fab is proud to be a part of the coordinated efforts to ensure a bright and merry Christmas for all the members of our community,” wrote Timothy Mathison, Dan Weaver, Sara Weaver-Lundberg and Todd Weaver.
Dave and Cheryl Wall, of Spokane, donated $1,000, as did the Welch Foundation and two anonymous donors, all of Spokane.
John and Nancy Orchard, of Spokane, donated $1,000 “in loving memory of Violet Ash, who loved helping others. God’s richest blessings to all this Christmas season,” they wrote.
An anonymous donor sent $500 and a note: “Thank you for your dedication to this program, which helps so many people in need.” An anonymous donor, of Spokane Valley, donated $500 for Clara.
The International Footprint Association, Spokane Falls Chapter 34, donated $250, as did the doctors and staff of Evergreen Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, of Spokane Valley.
Joan Peden, of Spokane, donated $200, as did Donald and Mary Westerman, also of Spokane. Dan and Nettie Simonson, of Spokane, donated $200 in memory of Stewart, Kent and Dorothy Simonson. Mary Ann Cooley, of Cheney, sent $200 in memory of her husband, John J. Cooley III, who died three years ago.
Michael and Lucille Slavens, of Spokane, donated $150, as did Del and Ruth Mattix, of Veradale. Mike and Kathy Eaton, of Spokane, sent $150 and a note: “If we read the list to see names we know among the donors, why doesn’t that recognition inspire friends to donate? Large or small, imagine the chain reaction of blessings for the community.”
Verna Winton, of Spokane, sent $125 in memory of her husband, Marvin Winton. “He was a longtime supporter of and volunteer at the Christmas Bureau,” she wrote. “May all those who give so generously of their time, energy and money have a joyful Christmas.”
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $105 in memory of Dorothy Gordon.
Edward and Ethel Fisk, of Coulee City, Wash., donated $100, as did Gregory, Diane and Ty Wick, and Kenneth and Helen Evans, all of Mead; Sharon and Skip Boyer, and Jack and Doris Primmer, all of Spokane Valley; Lynda Ensign, and Paul and Charlotte Hudson, all of Clayton, Wash.; Mrs. Maury Twomey, of Round Lake, Ill.; and William Moldovan, Kathy and Pat Harper, Todd Hamm, and Frank Franciscovich, all of Spokane.
Roberta Bayne, of Spokane Valley, donated $100 in memory of her late husband, Brian, “who was very supportive of what you do for so many to make their lives a little brighter.”
Mary Laflamme, of Spokane, sent $100, with gratitude for the warm welcome she has received since moving to Spokane in March.
Adrian and Wanda Nichols, of Spokane, gave $75.
Jenny Egly donated $53.10 via PayPal.
James Paul and Deborah Repp, of Spokane Valley, donated $50, as did Nettie Wright, Theodore and Virginia Czechowski, Werner and Marlene Westhoff and Virginia Stare, all of Spokane.
Mary Cayer, of Spokane, donated $40.
Karen and Kelly Ryan, of Spokane, donated $30 in memory of Pat Ryan and Thomas and Willie Jewell.
Richard and Judith Gammon, of Spokane, donated $25, as did Betty and Matthew Collin, also of Spokane, and Stephen and Cynthia LeBlanc, of Greenacres.
Douglas and Jane Salvadalena, of Veradale, donated $17.
Clifford Lewis, of Spokane, donated $10, as did Nancy Wood, of Spokane Valley, and an anonymous donor, of Spokane.