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Donor based in Kabul also helps

Volunteers’ daughter pitches in on leave

Christmas Bureau volunteer Carmela Conroy gets the prize for coming the longest way to volunteer at the charity. Conroy is visiting her parents in Spokane during a short leave from Kabul, Afghanistan, where she works for the U.S. State Department as a regional refugee coordinator.

She also donated $1,500 to the Christmas Fund, which pays for the toys and food vouchers distributed at the bureau. She spent Wednesday volunteering at the bureau with her parents, Bob and Judi Conroy.

“I return to Afghanistan the day after Christmas, and in July I’ll move to Lahore, Pakistan, to run the U.S. Consulate there,” Conroy said. “I’m pretty excited about that.”

Working as a refugee coordinator bears some similarities to volunteering at the Christmas charity, although on a different scale: It’s all about identifying a need and trying to fill it.

Overseas, Conroy finds nongovernmental organizations to provide services such as literacy programs, health care and maternity care to refugees in Pakistan preparing to return to Afghanistan.

“We also work with NGOs in Afghanistan to provide houses for refugees who have already returned,” she said. “It’s like a Habitat (for Humanity) program in that the refugees provide sweat equity in building the houses. They make their own mud bricks; we provide window frames, beams and roofing. And we do water projects and work with dispute resolution at the community level.”

At the Christmas Bureau, Conroy worked at the identification table all day, checking recipients’ addresses, Medicaid coupons or subsidized heat bills.

The number of people at the bureau dropped dramatically as the snowstorm began Wednesday morning. By day’s end, the bureau had distributed food vouchers totaling $20,971 to 723 needy families and given out 1,081 toys.

The bureau will remain open through Saturday, and the Christmas Fund will welcome donations through Dec. 29. Donations totaling $40,136 brought the fund to $344,866.

Following are the donors and the amounts of their donations:

The Spokane and Coeur d’Alene offices of Witherspoon, Kelley, Davenport & Toole donated $5,000. “The firm is pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to a cause that is committed to helping persons in need during these difficult times, particularly during the holiday season. It is with great pleasure that we present this donation to the Christmas Fund on behalf of the firm and our employees,” wrote President Michael D. Currin.

The employees, management and owners of Rings & Things, of Spokane, sent $2,000. “We hope this late contribution will encourage others to make additional donations so this year’s fund can reach the goal,” owners Russ Nobbs and Dee Mueller wrote. “Like many businesses, Rings & Things’ employees participate in a voluntary payroll deduction plan to make our Christmas Fund contribution in spite of the economic issues we all face. With an additional match from the owners, we are able to contribute $2,000 to the Christmas Fund, as well as give support to several other community concerns.

“Our thanks go to the Review and to the volunteers working at the Christmas Bureau for this annual opportunity to share with families in need,” Nobbs and Mueller wrote. Layman, Layman & Robinson law offices, of Spokane, sent $2,000 and a note: “Our firm has been blessed with great clients as well as good friends and professional relationships. In the past we have attempted to demonstrate our appreciation by providing Christmas baskets in addition to charitable contributions. This year, as everyone is aware, our nation and communities are facing difficult and uncertain economic times. Many organizations and families in our communities need our support and assistance now more than ever. As a result, we are not sending Christmas baskets this year, but instead, in the spirit of appreciation of our many friends and valued clients, are donating these funds to charitable organizations,” they wrote.

Rich, Carol and Scott Hendershot donated $1,000, as did Steve and Lynn Nisco, and Turner, Stoeve & Gagliardi, P.S., all of Spokane. Commercial Grading Inc., of Otis Orchards, gave $1,000 and noted: “In these tough economic times, we must not forget those in need.”

J. and J. Kilgore, of Deer Park, donated $1,000 in memory of Dorothy Kilgore Warren and Alvin Sjostrom.

Matthew Phillipson, of Spokane, donated $1,000 in honor of his nieces and nephews, Kayla, Alex, Sam, Parker and Cole.

The Spokane Shadle Lions Club sent $1,000 and a note: “We are pleased to be able to send a check to be used for new toys and food vouchers for our many families who need help this time of year. Thank you for the help you are giving to our community,” they wrote.

Randal DeFelice donated $970.70 via PayPal.

Robert and Linda Miller, of Coeur d’Alene, sent $725 and a note: “We’ve been blessed with far more than we deserve, and so it’s with great gratitude and pleasure that we share with those who need help,” they wrote.

An anonymous donor, of Chattaroy, donated $600.

BPS Supply Co., of Spokane, sent $500 and a note: “All the employees of BPS Supply Co. are happy to be part of this donation for those less fortunate,” BPS President Mary Patricia Strange wrote.

Mary Ann Cooley, of Cheney, sent $500 and a note: “This year I decided instead of giving family, friends and co-workers gifts, I would donate to the Christmas Fund. This year when times seem especially hard for folks, it is nice that I and my favorite people can help to give someone less fortunate a happier Christmas.”

Rob and Laurie Sargent and Rob Sargent Masonry, of Spokane, donated $500, as did Jim and Terry Coombes, of Spokane; Bob and Dolores Griffith, of Veradale; two anonymous donors, of Spokane; and anonymous donor, of Greenacres.

An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $500 in memory of Amy Davenport.

An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $400.

The officers, members and staff of the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 44, of Spokane, donated $333.

William and Nancy Henry, of Spokane, donated $300 in memory of their parents, Bo and Mary Henry and Robert and Marian Heglar.

Kevin West, senior vice president of Smith Barney of Spokane, gave $300 in lieu of client gifts. “Please accept this donation to help out those less fortunate in our community. I am very thankful for my clients, but am also thankful for the service you provide to all in need,” West wrote.

Fred and Sharon Clark gave $300 in memory of Sarah Anne Clark. Two anonymous donors, both of Spokane, each sent $300. “It’s a wonderful thing the Inland Empire does every year for those in need,” wrote one.

An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $300 in memory of Richard Babst and Clement Young, “brothers who will be having their first Christmas with the angels.”

A donation of $280 came from friends and family in memory of Zachary McPeck.

Jerome Keller, of Spokane, donated $250, as did Gene and Judy Olsen, Wolff & Son General Contractors, of Spokane; attorney Paul J. Allison, of Spokane Valley; and two anonymous donors, both of Spokane.

Colleen Carey and Arnold Cohen, of Spokane, donated $200, as did Bruce Dentler, Robert and Kathleen Nelson, Norm and Rowena Fredekind, and three anonymous donors, all of Spokane.

The Jones family, of Spokane Valley, donated $200 in memory of Marybelle Clark and Evelyn Phillips.

An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $200 in honor of Don Kelly, the new director of the Christmas Bureau. “He always gives back to the community in a quiet, yet powerful way,” she wrote.

Nance Carlson and Joe Destefano, of Spokane, donated $200, Carlson on behalf of her grandchildren Amanda, Travis, Britany, Justine and Samuel and great-grandchild, Sophia; Destefano on behalf of his grandchildren, Tommy, Angeca, Jack, Foster, Alexis and Kalli.

An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $160.

An anonymous donor, of Chattaroy, donated $151.

Delbert and Ruth Mattix, of Veradale, sent $150, as did Mike and Kathy Eaton, Harold and Heidi Clarke, Wilbur Yates, Christopher and Karrie Lang, and two anonymous donors, all of Spokane; the Feldman family, of Spokane and Priest Lake; and an anonymous donor, of Mead.

Rod and Anne Hartman, of Spokane, donated $150 in memory of Norm McClure, of Nespelem, Wash. Rick and Joan Haynes, of Nine Mile Falls, sent $150 on behalf of their grandchildren, Alivia, Adam and Ava.

Dick and Donita Day, of Spokane, donated $125, as did Thomas and Elaine Pitzer, also of Spokane.

Blaine Krebs, of Mead, donated $100, as did Patti Helmbrecht, James and Sharman Watson, Helen Bell, Melissa and James Tipke, David Breshears, Robert and Germaine Weaver, Frank Franciscovich, Joyce Stefanoff and Sandy Hatch, all of Spokane.

Marilyn and Al Morgan, of Seven Bays, Wash., donated $100, as did Connie and Dallas Dixon, Grace and Clark Hege, Sharon Grimmer, William and Eileen Dittman, Bob and Peggy Frank, Tracey McHenry and Brian Donahue, and Paul Grubb, all of Spokane.

Roberta Robinson, of Rosalia, Wash., sent $100, as did Kenneth Benge, and Charles and Ladonna Colbert, all of Spokane Valley; Meredith and Leslie Hilby, of Liberty Lake; Susan Mincey, of Medical Lake; the Yocoms, of Cheney; and Vickie and Robert McCann, of Deer Park.

R. Scott and Jo LeVan, of Liberty Lake, gave $100, as did the Stanleys, of Medical Lake; Susan, Ken and Wils, of Spokane; the Overdorffs, of Newman Lake; and eight anonymous donors, all of Spokane.

George and Barbara Stumph, of Spokane, sent $100. “Merry Christmas to the children of Spokane,” they wrote.

James Gunn, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of his best friend, Leslie Hacker. Maren and Donna Kuest, of Spokane, gave $100 in honor of our veterans. Gerrie and Al Schlosser, of Spokane Valley, donated $100 in honor of their parents. Renee Sulpizio, of Spokane, sent $100 in memory of Ed and Edna David.

Dorothy and Bob Yohe, of Spokane, sent $100 in memory of their son, Kenneth Anderson, “who loved to help all the little ones at Christmas.” Helen, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of her husband, Bob.

Delene Christian, of Spokane, sent $100 in memory of Gramps, Mark K. Hollenback, “who always believed in helping those less fortunate.”

Al and Vicki Falkner, of Spokane, gave $100 in appreciation of Don Kelly and Carol Speltz. Bob and Mary Morgan, of Spokane, sent $100 in honor of their grandchildren, Matthew, John, Lauren, Christine, Tyler, Jennifer and Carly.

Lloyd and Pat Bobysud, of Spangle, sent $100 in memory of their parents, George and Marge Bobysud and Dick and Eve Sterett.

Amy Pohl Renfrew and Debbi Renfrew Garrett, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of their sister and aunt, Hazel Beatrice Pohl Bayliss.

Melanie Endicott and Jocelyn and Morgan Dale donated $96.80 via PayPal, in memory of Jeff Dale. James Brown also donated $96.80 via PayPal.

Janet Watkins, of Newport, Wash., sent $75, as did Mary Bemis, of Spokane Valley; and Julie Banks, of Spokane.

Blanche Lueck, of Spokane, and Lyle and Rosalie Lueck, of Anacortes, Wash., each donated $50.

The staff of Sacred Heart Medical Center 7 South, 3-11 shift, donated $50, as did Thomas Pope, Rhea Dow, Marie and Robert Nesbitt, Roger and Pat French, Bud and Lynda Bowman, and two anonymous donors, all of Spokane.

Lorin and Alice Love, of Mead, sent $50, as did Alan Hastings, of Deer Park; an anonymous donor, of Spokane Valley; and an anonymous donor, of Liberty Lake. Virginia Smith, of Spokane, sent $50, as did Kathy Miller, of Spokane, in memory of Sybil and Floyd Prater.

Deb and Jim Repp, of Spokane Valley, gave $50, “for those less fortunate than some of the rest of us. Maybe this can help brighten their holidays,” they wrote.

Yvonne Hayes, of Spokane Valley, donated $50 in memory of her mother, Georgia Niemi, who passed away on Christmas Eve four years ago. “She strongly supported this fund, and I do also. God bless you all for all that you do, not only is money vital, but also many hours of loving volunteer work,” Hayes wrote.

Betty Frost, of Spokane, and children Jack Jr., Nancy and Patti, donated $50 in memory of their husband and father, Jack E. Frost.

Barbara and George Stevens, of Spokane, sent $50 and a note: “I lived during the Great Depression and Christmas was bleak for all of us. But a bureau like this, called Sunshine Kids, in Aberdeen, Wash., saw that we each had a gift. This is something you never forget,” wrote Barbara Stevens.

Erik Ohlund donated $48.25 via PayPal.

Ray, Liz, Lauren and Kiley Schatz, of Spokane, sent $45 in memory of their sister and aunt, Karen Schatz Dunning.

Irving and Jeanine Kiehn, of Spokane, sent $40, as did an anonymous donor, of Liberty Lake.

Patricia Gunderson, of Spokane, donated $35 in memory of her father, Michael V. McGee.

Dennis Frey, of Spokane, gave $30, as did an anonymous donor, also of Spokane. An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $30 in memory of her parents, John and Emma Peereboom.

Steve and Barbara Bergstrom, of Spokane, gave $25, as did Dalton and Karen Jassman, William and Janet Hale, Jean Dahlberg, Mike and Dorothy McMurtery, Hattie Carroll, Ernst and Rita Pickel, and four anonymous donors, all of Spokane; Barb and Rob Bly, of Newman Lake; Charles and Rose Carver, of Medical Lake; the McCoys, of Veradale; Claudia and Richard Kroll, of Nine Mile Falls; and an anonymous donor, of Cheney.

Jacquelyn Daniell, of Spokane, gave $25 in memory of Bea Hand. Mark and Pip Witner, of Mead, sent $25 in memory of Lloyd Kay. Judy Rupert, of Spokane Valley, sent $25 in memory of her parents, Harvey and Ann Triplett, and brother, Harvey Triplett. An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $25 in honor of her family.

The Rev. George Morris, S.J., of Spokane, donated $20, as did Neil and Peggy Clemons, and anonymous donor, also of Spokane. An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $20 in memory of Marion Cypert, “who always cared about those less fortunate.”

Two anonymous donors, of Spokane, each gave $10.

Susan English can be reached at christmasfund@


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