More than 29,500 people woke up this morning to a cheerier Christmas, thanks to a generous community that donated nearly $560,000 to pay for toys and food vouchers for the area’s poor.
Donations totaling $22,547 brought the Christmas Fund to $559,114. The fund closes for the year Dec. 29. The final donations will be reported in the newspaper Dec. 31.
The fund pays for the fixings of Christmas given out at the Christmas Bureau.
Some donors make a Christmas Eve ritual of bringing their donations to the newspaper offices. Among them are Huppin’s / OneCall and the Slater family.
Murry Huppin, president of Huppin’s / OneCall, brought a $2,500 donation to the newspaper Wednesday. “Congratulations to our community and The Spokesman-Review for surpassing this year’s fundraising target to make the Christmas season brighter for those less fortunate,” Huppin wrote. “Even so, achievement of goals does not necessarily mean that all the needs have been met. Please accept this donation from the team at Huppin’s / OneCall to help further the cause.”
The Slater family, of Spokane, donated $1,281, which included donations of $21 from Jack and $20 each from the piggy banks of Conner, Buddy and Parker.
Following are the additional donors and the amounts of their donations:
Prompted by the demonstrated need in the community, Patrick Rusnak, executive vice president of AmericanWest Bank, brought a $5,000 donation from the bank to the newspaper offices.
“I was touched by the stories of the people at the Christmas Bureau,” said Rusnak, who moved to Spokane two years ago. “It’s helpful to have faces with the stories of need.”
Dozens of employees of Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories, of Spokane, donated a total of $4,409.50. “We at PAML have a strong commitment to our mission and values. It is our pleasure to serve in this community and to make this donation. Please accept it with our thanks for the help you have given the community over the years,” they wrote.
Century 21, of Spokane, donated $2,000.
Champion Concrete Pumping Inc., of Hauser, Idaho, donated $1,078. “We are thankful for the ministry this organization provides to our community. May God continue to bless your efforts in the New Year,” wrote David and Janelle Bertsch and Roy and Dawn Thompson.
The staff at Spokane Teachers Credit Union donated $768.
Two anonymous donors, of Spokane, gave a combined $750.
The employees of the Spokane Public Schools Maintenance, Warehouse, Facility Services and Purchasing departments donated $700.95. “While we take pride in supporting public education in Spokane on a daily basis, it is with glad hearts that we also support this very worthy and necessary endeavor within our community,” wrote fundraising committee co-chairs Wayne Bergstresser and George Loos. “Your efforts to bring a ray of happiness to others each Christmas is a tremendous opportunity for our community to come together and help our own. This year we wish to donate in the memory of Fred McGee,” they wrote.
Ryan Baddeley sent $485.20 via PayPal.
The Wagner family, of Spokane, donated $400.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $400 and a note: “Thank you for making this holiday season a little nicer for the Spokane area families and their children. The Spokesman-Review, Volunteers of America and Catholic Charities have again provided the true spirit of Christmas – giving to the less fortunate with the help of the community,” she wrote.
The employees of Spokane Urology donated $277 on behalf of their physicians as their Christmas gift to doctors Robert Corbett, C. Frederick Hollon, Michael O. Henneberry, Thomas N. Fairchild, David Mikkelsen and Mihai Alexianu.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $250.
Bob and Diane Notske, of Spokane, donated $200, as did an anonymous donor, also of Spokane.
Paine Hamblen Attorneys, of Spokane, donated $150, as did Boehm’s Chocolates and Flowers, also of Spokane.
Doug, Carol, Laurel and Cappy Spruance, of Spokane, donated $125.
Donald Head, of Spokane, donated $100 and included an explanation: “Sixty-five years ago on Christmas Day, I was in my fifth day crammed into a box car with many other POWs. We were forced into the car by a German soldier after being captured in the Battle of the Bulge on Dec. 19, 1944. We had no food or water for five days. We were let out on Christmas. I am still happy to be alive. Thank you for all that you do,” he wrote.
Kyle and Ashley Hansen, of Liberty Lake, donated $100, as did S.S. Shaw, of Colbert; Viola Stern, Dianne Bongarts, Peter Hoslett, and an anonymous donor, all of Spokane.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $100 in honor of her father, who was a supporter of the Christmas Bureau for many years, the note said.
An anonymous donor, of Coolin, Idaho, sent $100.
Mary Lively, of Spokane, donated $50, as did Bette O’Donnell, Stephen and Kris Lamberson, Patricia Earley, and an anonymous donor, all of Spokane; an anonymous donor, of Mead; and an anonymous donor, of Cheney.
An anonymous donor gave $48.25 via PayPal in honor of Harold and Myrna Best-Ross.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, sent $30 in thanks for all the tireless Christmas Bureau workers like Don Kelly, and as a tribute to the years of dedication by Patrick Ryan.
Stephanie Bender, of Spokane, sent $25, as did Lynn Mounsey Longmeier, also of Spokane. The Rudd family, of Spokane Valley, donated $25 in memory of Ken Trent and Wally Rudd.
Faye, Wes and Travis King, of Odessa, Wash., donated $20.