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From teens to retirees, volunteers fill need

Venture Crew, Boy Scouts among 200 making bureau hum

Randy and Sally Olson are among the Christmas Bureau volunteers who donate money as well as time. In the Olsons’ case, though, time will equal money for the Christmas Fund, which pays for toys and grocery vouchers given out at the seasonal charity.

“I’m retired from Pepsi-Cola and they have a matching program,” Randy Olson said. “If I work 40 hours for a charity, they will donate $500 to that charity.”

As of Saturday, Olson had clocked 30 hours. “I’ll get the 40. I’m scheduled to work every day here, so that’s not a problem.”

Sally Olson is retired from Safeco Insurance, which has a similar program. “They’ll also donate $500 to a charity, but she only has to work 32 hours to get it,” Randy Olson said.

“It’s fun to give back to the community,” he said. “We also do a lot of work for Habitat for Humanity and get donations for them. It’s a kick.”

The Olsons are among 200 volunteers needed to operate the Christmas charity at the Spokane fairgrounds. In addition to the volunteers, a number of other groups contribute to the effort.

On Saturday, Scott Weigle brought nine members of Venture Crew 33, which is affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, to the bureau.

“It’s a coed program for kids ages 14 and older that is outdoor-oriented,” Weigle said. “We camp out a lot and do trail building, but this season we wanted to do something directly with people in need.”

“We’ve been carrying boxes and restocking toys,” said Daniel Bell-Garrison, 16, one of the Venture Crew members. “Some of us also worked in the bagging area and child care.”

The Venture Crew members were joined by three Boy Scouts working on their community service merit badges. Eric Roe, 14, spent Saturday assembling toys, restocking the toy rooms and breaking down cardboard boxes for recycling.

The Christmas Bureau opens for the last week of operation today.

Donations to the Spokesman- Review Christmas Fund continue to push toward the goal of $495,000, which will pay for the toys and food vouchers distributed at the bureau.

Following are the donors and the amounts of their donations:

An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $3,000.

Michael Flannery and Dean Lynch, of Spokane, donated $1,750, “in memory of my late parents, Francis and Norah Flannery, Dean’s late father, Gordon Lynch, and his mother, Shirley Lynch. There is great need this season,” they wrote.

Jack and Donna, of Spokane Valley, donated $1,000.

Donn and Lynda Pattinson, of Spokane, donated $500. An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $500 “for Clara.”

Karen and David Parsons, of Spokane, sent $500 and a note: “Please accept this donation in honor of our brothers and sisters from all walks of life.”

TEK Manufacturing Inc., of Spokane Valley, donated $400.

The South Hill Bunko Babes donated $382.

Bob and Judy Lee, of Spokane, gave $300 in memory of their grandson Austin McKenzie and parents, Catherine Lee and Ken Smith. Two anonymous donors, of Spokane, each sent $300.

An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $250.

Lynda Ensign and Ken Gerard, of Clayton, Wash., donated $200, as did Bill Molsberry, D.D.S., and Stanley Sargent, D.D.S., both of Spokane.

The Order Sons of Italy in America American-Italian Club Lodge No. 2172, of Spokane, sent $200 and a note: “We officers and members of the American-Italian Club are thankful for our heritage and the opportunities we have had living and working in this community. It gives us comfort to know we are helping those less fortunate. We truly appreciate the work you and your volunteers do to provide for needy families,” wrote club President Nick Compagno.

Betty Littell, of Spokane, donated $200 in memory of her husband, Marv, and daughter, Sally Littell. Jim and Elaine Peplinski, of Spokane, donated $200 in memory of Belle Ensminger.

Flo Fiveash, of Spokane, donated $100, as did Barbara and James Groves, David and Cathy Williams, and Brenda Kochis, all of Spokane; Michael and Jennifer Brandt, of Spokane Valley; and NNN Investments, LLC, of Twisp, Wash.

Sara Dougherty, of Spokane, sent $150 in honor of her father, Donald Dougherty, “who was known to pinch a penny or two, but not when it came to charitable giving,” she wrote.

Victor Lumber Company Inc., of Spokane, sent $150 and a note: “On behalf of our loyal customers, the staff at Victor Lumber is pleased to contribute to the Christmas Fund.”

Theodore and Virginia Czechowski, of Spokane, donated $100 in honor of their children and grandchildren. Tim and Darlene Holliday, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of their son Russell “Air Hoss” Holliday. An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $100 in memory of Charles Schmeltzer, “who was a faithful contributor to the Christmas Fund.”

Frank and Linda Browne, of Spokane, donated $100 with thanks to Marilyn and Gary Garofano.

Gene and Jackie LaLiberte, of Liberty Lake, sent $50, as did Richard and Jane Hoy, Deb Walter, and an anonymous donor, all of Spokane.

Gordon and Judy Landberg, of Spokane Valley, gave $35, as did Curt and Mary Jo Lorenz, of Chattaroy.

Jean Rabe, of Spokane, donated $25, as did Delores Gant, of Spokane Valley; Jim and Sandie Lee Donahue, and an anonymous donor, all of Spokane.

Christopher Zilar, of Cheney, donated $15.

An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $10.

Rose Breckenrudge, of Coeur d’Alene, donated $3.

Susan English can be reached at

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