Christmas Bureau volunteer Deb Prouty worked her last shift of the year Wednesday at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. It was her first year as a volunteer at the charity.
“After working four days here, I want to remind my friends, my family and other donors that at this charity, the money goes back to the people of Spokane,” she said.
In past years, Prouty donated to the Christmas Fund, which pays the bills for the Christmas Bureau, but she never thought much about how the money was really used. The volunteering experience changed that.
“It’s important to know where the money goes when you give to a charity and I have witnessed where it goes here,” she said.
Like many first-time volunteers, Prouty expected the recipients to include more homeless people.
“The people I have seen are the working poor,” she said. “They aren’t proud that they are coming here for help, but they come to put food on the table and get gifts for their children for Christmas.”
She said she found the experience both rewarding and sad.
“The last guy I saw today has cancer,” Prouty said. “As I explained to him that the food voucher couldn’t be used for cigarettes, he handed me a note that said he didn’t have a voice box because he got throat cancer from smoking and couldn’t talk. Now the cancer’s back.”
Volunteers gave 884 food vouchers to poor families Wednesday, worth a total of $26,400. Toys were given to 1,488 children.
The bureau will be open from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, except Sunday, through Dec. 21.
Following are recent donations to the Christmas Fund:
Virgil and Helen Duchow, of Spokane, donated $150, as did an anonymous donor, also of Spokane.
Carl and Dennie Crowe, of Spokane, sent $150 and a note: “Thank you for all the work you do in providing a happy Christmas for so many. Please accept this donation in memory of our parents, Mary and Carl Crowe, and Hugh Dressel.”
St. Joseph Catholic Church, of Metaline Falls, donated $125, as did Thomas and Nancy Nelson, of Colbert.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $110.
William and Yoko Pelloux, of Nine Mile Falls, sent $100, as did Steven and Linda Swartley, Jack Redinger, Magna Knaggs, Tom and Mary Lacy, Annette La Combe, Sharon and Rick Myers, Harold and Heidi Clarke, Ruth Pearson, Walter and Marian Nelson, Michael and Joan Chevalier, and Sharon Grimmer, all of Spokane.
John and June Archambeault, of Veradale, donated $100, as did the Crystal Chandeliers Ballroom Dance Club, Earl and Virginia Schoer, Richard and Karen Steele, Bonnie Orcutt, Anthony and Donna Pardini, Stanley Sargent, Catherine Shields, and an anonymous donor, all of Spokane.
Steve and Karen Heaps, of Spokane Valley, sent $100, as did the Park Lane Motel, and two anonymous donors, also all of Spokane Valley.
Bob and Peggy Frank, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of their father, Mike Frank. An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $100, “in memory of Henry Diedesch, a former worker.”
Joyce Stefanoff, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of her son, David.
The Physicians Clinic of Spokane sent $100 and a note: “This check represents donations made by employees, staff and providers alike, for the privilege of wearing blue jeans to work on ‘Blue Jean Friday.’ “
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $75.
Steve and Nancy Kiss, of Metaline, Wash., donated $50, as did Ginny Robinette, Nancy MacKerrow, Fred and Patricia Evertsbusch, Patrick and Judith Ryan, Domini Sandwiches, and six anonymous donors, all of Spokane; and Raelee Easton, of Spokane Valley.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $50 with wishes that every child have good memories of Christmas.
Five-year-old Blake Dunn, of Spokane, sent $50 so “other kids can have some toys.”
Diane Veltri, of Spokane, donated $50 in memory of her brother, Doug White.
Nancy Hood, of Spokane Valley, donated $40, as did Nettie Wright, of Spokane.
Katherine Strickler donated $28.83 via PayPal.
Floyd Stewart, of Loon Lake, Wash., donated $25, as did Konny Thompson, William and Janet Hale, Bill and Helen Yokum, Bob Small, M.L. and C.R. Anderson, Loretta Thompson, Larry and Sandra Neil, Beverly Petrovich, and two anonymous donors, all of Spokane; and Randy and Victoria Bunke, of Deer Park.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $25 and a note: “I am pleased that the bit I can give will all be used to make someone happy,” she wrote. An anonymous donor, of Spokane Valley, gave $25 in memory of Agnus Harris.
Ken and Jill Severns, of Spokane, donated $20, as did T.C., in memory of Elizabeth.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $5.