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New, longtime volunteers join at Bureau

Tue., Dec. 16, 2008, 10 p.m.

Most of the 200 Christmas Bureau volunteers are veterans of the holiday charity. A few, such as Monsignor Frank Bach and Marilee Roloff, have been with the Christmas Bureau for decades.

That’s not the case with the 60 volunteers who help parents select books for their children at the charity. On Monday, four of the six volunteers giving out books were new to the charity.

Alpha Delta Kappa, a sorority for retired teachers, provides much of the volunteer time needed to make the book giveaway work. The volunteers spend hundreds of hours sorting 40,000 books donated to the Volunteers of America by Scholastic Books, Inc. About 20,000 books are selected for the Christmas Bureau; the rest go to other VOA literacy programs.

VOA partners with Catholic Charities in running the Christmas Bureau at the Spokane fairgrounds. Donations to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund pay for the toys and food vouchers given to the area’s needy families.

This year, Tana Carosella, the person in charge of the ADK volunteer crew, expanded the pool of volunteers by soliciting people from the local chapter of the American Association of University Women, Mead School District and the Sacred Heart Foundation and Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“The bulk of the volunteers are retired teachers, though,” Carosella said.

Scholastic Books, Inc., has notified Roloff, the president of VOA, that the flagging economy may prevent it from donating books next year. That means Roloff and the teachers’ sorority will be looking for ways to buy children’s books for the Christmas Bureau.

In addition to volunteering at the Christmas Bureau, ADK members already raise money to buy some books for children. Scholastic sent books primarily for elementary and middle school children.

“We try to buy books for older teens,” Carosella said. “This year we had $500 to spend. We were at the wholesale warehouse selecting books and a woman there asked what we were buying all the books for. I explained the Christmas Bureau to her and she gave us another $200 for more books.”

By expanding the pool of volunteers, Carosella also has more groups to find ways to provide children’s books next year, if needed.

Donations to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund pay for the toys, food vouchers and candy given to area poor families at the bureau.

Donations totaling $33,955 bumped the Christmas Fund to $304,729, still well short of the goal of $495,000. Donations of all amounts are welcome.

Following are the donors and the amounts of their donations:

Seven2, of Spokane, donated $3,450. “The owners and employees of Seven2 would like to thank all of the volunteers for all of their wonderful work and are grateful to contribute to their efforts. In these tough times, it’s important we take care of one another,” wrote Tyler, Nick and all of the employees at Seven2.

Brown and Delaney, Certified Public Accountants, of Spokane, sent $3,000, “and many blessings to those less fortunate.”

Carol and Gerald Santantonio, of Spokane, donated $2,000.

Dennie Walker, of Usk, Wash., donated $1,000, as did ColVico, Inc., Wagstaff, Inc., and two anonymous donors, all of Spokane.

An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $750 and a note: “I’m sending you more this year when the need is so great.”

An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $523.

Jean and Douglas Edwards, of Spokane, gave $500, as did Harold and Sharon Cathcart, of Colbert; Toby’s Body and Fender, of Spokane; Fred and Norrine Potts, of Spokane Valley; and an anonymous donor, of Spokane.

Donna Hares, of Spokane, donated $500 in memory of her husband, Donald W. Hares.

An anonymous donor, of Greenacres, gave $500 in memory of Jim, Remy and Zeffie.

DIVCON, Inc., of Spokane, and seven employees, sent $450 and a note: “Each of our employees can donate to the charity of their choice and DIVCON matches their individual donations. The following employees named the Christmas Fund for their donations: L.J. Anderson, Scott Graves, Donald Hagreen, Shaun Salazar, Angela Steele, Eric Wenzel and Dan Wilson.”

Ron and Diane Kaufman, of Spokane, donated $400, as did Mr. and Mrs. Walt Cummings.

Richard and Diana Wilhite, of Spokane Valley, donated $300, as did Ken Waters and Ann Willkinson, Craig and Pauline Soehren, all of Spokane; and the Spokane Alumnae Chapter of Alpha Iota.

Jon and Valerie Eliassen, of Otis Orchards, donated $250, as did Fay and Carmel Johnstone, of Spokane Valley; Richard and Lois Steury, of Liberty Lake; Donald Moore, and Roger and Kathleen Chase, all of Spokane.

Tom and Gini Burns and family, of Spokane, sent $250 and thanks for wonderful work all the volunteers do every Christmas. Peggy and Dan Jeremiah, of Spokane Valley, sent $250 and thanks for helping the community have a nice Christmas.

An anonymous donor gave $203.61 via PayPal. “Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to pay forward the kindness my family and I once received during the holidays when I was a child,” she wrote.

Dan and Nettie Simonson, of Spokane, sent $200 in memory of Stewart, Kent and Dorothy Simonson.

The Physicians Clinic of Spokane sent $200 and a note: “This check represents the donations made by employees, staff and providers alike, for the privilege of wearing blue jeans to work on ‘Blue Jean Friday.’ The employees selected the Christmas Fund to help continue its work.”

Larry and Tudy Hatch, of Spokane, donated $200, as did Dr. and Mrs. Byron Greany, of Greenacres; Lorraine Queener, of Spokane Valley; Sharon McCloskey, of Colbert; Buss and Donna Busko, of Spokane Valley; and Dorothy Hart, of Spokane.

Lucy Graham, of Liberty Lake, donated $200 in memory of R.A. Graham. Bob and Dorothy Putz, of Spokane, gave $200 in memory of Jack, and to help those less fortunate to have a happy Christmas.

Mark and Jessie Bekken, of Questar Marketing, Inc., of Spokane, donated $200, “with thanks for support from our clients, so we are able to give to this worthwhile fund.”

Donna Roloff, of Spokane, donated $200 in memory of Harold Roloff and Dan Roloff.

John and Janet Hooper, of Liberty Lake, sent $200 in the names of their great-grandchildren, Bailey, Keegan, Peyton, Aclara and little John.

Jerry and Paulette Firor, of Spokane, donated $200 in memory of their daughter, Chelsey, who passed away in May. “We hope that anyone who sees our donation and knew her would also donate to the great cause. She would be so honored,” they wrote.

Christi and Gil Smith, of Spokane, sent $200 on behalf of their grandchildren, Niklas, Daniel, Luke and Sophia.

Susan English can be reached at

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