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Thousands served and six days to go

Sun., Dec. 14, 2008, midnight

Toy buyers will replenish dwindling stock to finish out week

Christmas Bureau volunteers say the toys are flying out of the charity at a record pace this year.

The numbers show a 21 percent increase from last year through the first four days of operation at the Spokane fairgrounds.

But the volunteer toy buyers say parents will find plenty of choices in the toy rooms on the last day of the charity next Saturday. Buyers for the charity plan a shopping trip early this week to replace stock that’s getting thin.

The bureau volunteers ordered 16,000 toys to be given to poor families, along with food vouchers, to make their Christmas celebrations a little merrier. More than 5,040 needy families sought help at the bureau in its first four days, and more than 8,000 toys have already been given out.

Toy buyer Judy Thies on Saturday called the bureau’s toy suppliers; she was told that toys will be available, but they won’t be the same toys the bureau opened with.

“More sleds and snow toys are out of the question,” Thies said. Only a few of the 750 sleds, snowboards and toboggans remained in the toy rooms by mid-day Saturday, and Thies expected them to be gone by closing time.

The most popular toys this year were Razor Scooters and Avatar Launchers. “We had 100 scooters and 60 launchers, and they were gone the first day,” Thies said.

Other hot toys were American Idol Dare to Dance sets, skateboards, Kawasaki Racers and Hot Wheels Tracks, digital cameras and Barbie dolls.

The 324 Barbies with cruisers were gone on Friday, Thies said.

“We won’t have many of the 400 manicure and make-up kits left after today,” she added.

The toy buyers try to order several choices for each age group and some that are gender-specific.

“We still have plenty of choices, but we’ll have to fill in,” Thies said. “The teen toys went especially fast, but we still have about 250 lotion bath sets. … We still have basketballs and footballs, and we’ll try to get more hand-held electronic games.”

The bureau distributed 927 food vouchers Saturday, bringing the total to 28,374, and parents selected toys for 1,752 children.

The bureau is closed today but will reopen Monday for the final six days of operation.

Catholic Charities and the Volunteers of America operate the Christmas Bureau at the Spokane fairgrounds in partnership with The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund. Donations to the fund pay for the toys and food vouchers.

Donations totaling $12,866 brought the fund to $222,548, nearly halfway to the goal of $495,000. Donations of all amounts are welcome.

Following are the donors and the amounts of their donations:

The law offices of Douglas, Eden, Phillips, DeRuyter & Stanyer, of Spokane, donated $5,000 and included a letter: “We have all lost something in this recession. Most of us have lost our normal sense of security and well being. But for many people in our community that are in need, there is no security or well being. They worry about the things many of us take for granted, such as how to put food on the table, provide warm clothing and shelter for children and pay for necessary medical care. These are daily struggles. There may be no money for presents or even a holiday meal.

“It is more important than ever before that those of us who are able, help those less fortunate. The attorneys and staff at Douglas, Eden, Phillips, DeRuyter and Stanyer have chosen to double to $5,000 our annual donation to the Christmas Fund this year. It is a privilege to join with others in our community in supporting this project,” wrote Ron Douglas, Marc Phillips, Brent Stanyer, Bill Eden, Dan DeRuyter, Ryan Douglas, Diane Kiepe, Anita Anderson, Sandi Pendleton, Lori Jennings, Suzanne Bretting, Robbie Beyer and Kathi Garcia.

Joe, Yvonne, Holly, John and Jake Mark and Dorian Studio, of Spokane, donated $1,500. “We at Dorian Studio want to express our gratitude to our Inland Northwest neighbors, the Spokane firefighters, our dedicated employees and to the Dorian customers for their support and understanding. We are making this donation in their honor. Merry Christmas and thank you for the opportunity to help,” they wrote.

Ken and Vicky Moland, of Valleyford, Wash., sent $600 in memory of Bill and Bonnie Barratt, Evelyn Nealey, Vern Moland and Veryl Moland.

Mortgage Default Services LLC, of Spokane, donated $500.

Steve, Jan, Del, Tim, Dad and Delitha Spear and families, of Spokane, donated $500. “We’re honored to share our blessings with others. Our wish for the season and new year is that everyone be as happy and blessed as we all are,” they wrote.

Robert and Mary Eckenrode, of Spokane, sent $500 and a note: “We are sending our annual donation in lieu of Christmas gifts for our children, and this year in memory of our dear son-in-law and father of our grandchildren, Patrick Findlay. We have raised our donation in the spirit of his generosity and kindness to others, especially children.”

Charles Hamil donated $485.20 via PayPal.

An anonymous donor, of Nine Mile Falls, donated $400.

Gary Miller, of Spokane, donated $300 in memory of his mother and father, Margaret and Lonnie Miller.

John and Whitney Sestero, of Spokane, donated $250, as did an anonymous donor, of Spokane Valley.

Lois Pearson donated $242.45 via PayPal.

St. Joseph Catholic Church, of Metaline Falls, Wash., donated $150, as did Erlene Manning, of Spokane.

Margaret Miller, of Spokane, sent $140.

Robert and Jeanne Dault, of Yuma, Ariz., sent $100, as did Eric and Marian Anderson, Leslie and Lois Albert, Phyllis Robison, Joan and Doug Menzies, and an anonymous donor, all of Spokane; Pete Sherve, of Northport, Wash.; H.O. Wilson, William Honeycutt, and Don and Marilyn Lippman, all of Spokane Valley.

Karen Tollackson, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of her husband, Chris Tollackson. Colleen Birchill, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of Jack, “who always gave to the Christmas Fund.”

Carol Phelps, of Spokane, donated $75.

Rovella Vawter, of Spokane, sent $50 and a note: “May this be helpful to the less fortunate. I am thankful to have a warm house and food.”

Hilda Sloper and B.J. McArthur, of Spokane, donated $50, as did Lynn Samuels, Kenneth and Karleen Blanchard, and Carol Lippman, all of Spokane.

Jacqueline Whipps, of Spokane, donated $35 in memory of her parents, Virg and Edna Whipps.

Nancy and Steve Kiss, of Metaline, Wash., sent $30, as did an anonymous donor, of Spokane.

Roberta Hibbs donated $28.83 via PayPal.

Marge Boyles, of Spokane, donated $25, as did Don and Carolyn Van Leuven, Tommy and Joyce Thompson, Gail Kiser, Judith and William Anderson, and two anonymous donors, all of Spokane.

Cherie Foss, of Spokane, donated $25 in memory of her dad, George Poston, Jr., and mother- and father-in-law, Ione and Jake Foss.

Nancy Martin, of Spokane, donated $20, as did an anonymous donor, also of Spokane.

An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $10.

Susan English can be reached at


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