Some donors give their names, perhaps hoping to spur friends and colleagues to donate, too. Others, including some of Spokane’s most well-known figures, prefer to remain anonymous.While the vast majority of donations to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund come from the Spokane area, donors in remote parts of Washington and as far away as Illinois have sent checks this year.
On Thursday, a donation came from one of the most unlikely sources: a Christmas Bureau recipient.
The woman approached bureau coordinator Theresa Dryden as the charity opened its doors, holding out her hand in a fist. “She said, ‘I don’t have much, but I wanted to help in any way I could,’ ” Dryden said.
The woman placed the cash in Dryden’s hand, careful not to reveal the amount. Once she was out of sight, Dryden opened her own fist to reveal the gift: three crumpled dollar bills.
“It shows what we see all the time, that people are really grateful, and they would give back if they could,” Dryden said.
The Christmas Bureau is a 10-day event held at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center that distributes food vouchers, toys and books to needy families. It’s organized by The Spokesman-Review, Catholic Charities and Volunteers of America and is funded by donations from the community.
The bureau served 2,773 people Thursday, distributing $26,893 worth of food vouchers and 1,250 toys for children. To date, the number of recipients and the amount of toys and grocery money distributed is about even with 2008’s figures, Dryden said.
The average monthly income of the households represented Thursday was $901.
Spokane residents Shirley and Matt Alling began donating to the fund about five years ago.
“A couple years ago, my mom said, ‘Don’t give me any gifts this year. Just give extra to the fund,’ ” Shirley Alling said. “Then, last year, my husband said the same thing.”
The couple still give gifts to their children and grandchildren, but they were able to donate $500 to the fund this year because of the money they saved on each other.
Alling said she will think of the bureau recipients on Christmas morning. “Especially when the grandkids are here, seeing their faces when they open their presents and imagining all over the city … there will be children who at least have a toy and a nice dinner,” she said.
Thanks to $14,155 in new donations, the Christmas Fund now totals $287,077, closer to this year’s $500,000 goal.
Metals Fabrication Co., of Spokane, donated $2,500.
“We are happy to be part of making Christmas brighter within our community,” wrote company Vice President Sara Weaver-Lundberg. “We hope the money helps to make happy Christmas memories for some local families.”
An anonymous donor gave $1,500.
Michael Flannery and Dean Lynch gave $1,000 in memory of their parents Gordon Lynch and Francis and Norah Flannery.
Also giving $1,000 was Intermountain Marketing Inc., of Spokane, which wrote: “As one of the few locally owned food brokers, all our employees are grateful for being in the food business in this type of economy. Happy holidays to everyone.”
DAA Northwest donated $600 on behalf of Shanks Enterprises, the winner of DAA’s promotional drawing to name a donor for its contribution.
Les and Lyn Wolff, of Mica, gave $500, as did an anonymous donor, an “anonymous donor from Greenacres,” and Ted and Winnie Allen, of Spokane, who gave “in gratitude for our wonderful families and all of the volunteers who make this possible.”
Chris and Christine Ashenbrener, of Spokane, donated $400 “to help make Christmas cheerier and brighter with good wishes to Trevor, Sarah, Anna and Erica Ashenbrener.”
Two anonymous donors gave $300, as did Spokane residents Stephen and Monica Lay; Spokane Valley resident Loretha Hitchcock; and Spokane residents William and Nancy Henry, who gave in memory of their parents Bo and Mary Henry and Robert and Marian Heglar.
Sidney Nicholson, of Spokane, sent $250.
An anonymous donor, who has been donating to the fund since 1954, gave $200.
Len and Heidi Preston, of Spokane, sent $200, as did Joe and Jan Kaley, of Spokane, who wrote: “We are happy to donate to a fund that makes the less fortunate have a nicer Christmas. Blessings to all the volunteers who help make this happen.”
N.D. and J.E. Skaufel, of Spokane Valley, donated $195.
Spokane residents Scott and Connie Brunell gave $130.
Two anonymous donors sent $100 each, one in memory of their grandson and parents.
Robert Mueller, of Spokane Valley, gave $100, as did Medical Lake resident Arveta Boone; Newman Lake residents James and Judy Arsenault; and Peter and Charlotte Yocom, of Cheney.
The following Spokane residents donated $100:
Delbert and Rojean Flory; Sharon Kyle and Don Nicholson; Loretta Bremer in memory of her husband, Bill, and mother, Helen; Boston and Maggie Jordan in memory of their great-grandfather James Clyde Jordan; Bill and Helen Yokum; Richard Wands; Ellen Ostheller; Darlene Waller, in memory of Jack and Margaret Waller and Darroll R. Waller; and Irma Moore, in memory of Denise Allessio, who died a few weeks ago.
“She had no children of her own, but was ‘Aunt Denise’ to all her nieces, grand-nieces and grand-nephews. She always enjoyed all the children and especially at Christmas.”
An anonymous donor sent $135.
Employees of JDRP gave $120 in the name of William Hargrove.
John and Sherry Gaiser donated $110 and wished everyone a merry Christmas.
Michael and Konni Dietz, of Mead, gave $75 and said they were “glad to be part of a really warm and wonderful tradition of helping others at Christmas.”
Three anonymous donors sent $50, as did Spokane residents Sean and Brandy Flaherty; Robert and Susan Anselmo; and John and Jacquelin Richardson.
Two anonymous donors gave $25 each, as did Spokane residents William and Janet Hale; Liberty Lake residents Chloe and Grace Williams; Deer Park residents Randy and Victoria Bunke; Ritzville residents Richard and Guyla Wigen; and Cheney resident Agnes Rablin.
Ira and Susa Amstadter, of Spokane, sent $20.10. Canniwai Grange, of Marlin, Wash., gave $20 in care of Gordon Peterson.
Greg and Illa Jean Swanson donated $15, and an anonymous donor sent $10.