Merry Christmas, Spokane. You did it.
Thanks to $23,048 in new donations, the Christmas Fund now totals $501,380, surpassing the largest goal ever set for the 64-year-old charity.
Christmas Bureau organizers had raised the bar to $500,000 to meet this year’s great need, and despite widespread economic hardship, donors came through.
“I am just overwhelmed by the goodness and generosity of this community,” said Volunteers of America Executive Director Marilee Roloff.
“On Christmas morning, thousands of kids will be delighted by their gifts. Their joy is a gift to us all.”
The Christmas Bureau is organized by The Spokesman-Review, Catholic Charities and Volunteers of America. It’s a 10-day event that distributes food vouchers, toys and books to needy families, and is funded through donations from the community.
Donations for this year’s bureau will be accepted through Dec. 29. Any money received after that date will roll over into the 2010 fund. An article will run Dec. 31 listing 2009’s remaining donors.
Huppin’s Hi-Fi, Photo & Video/OneCall, of Spokane, donated $5,134.
“On behalf of the owners and staff … (and even customers who purchased Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CDs), please accept our contribution of $5,134,” wrote Huppin’s President Murray Huppin. “Thank you to the Spokesman-Review for making it so easy for us to share our blessings with those in need this Christmas season.”
The Fernwell Building, 505 W. Riverside Ave., and its tenants gave $4,015.
The Fernwell tenants who donated, in addition to the property owners, are: Boswell Law Firm, Mark B. Callen, Dennis Clark and Debbie Bardwell, Barbara Conger, Stephen F. Faust, David and Cathy Gay, Charles and Diane Hammer, Craig and Joan Hunt, Parson/Burnett/Bjordahl LLP, Law Office of Gerald R. Smith, Tour Factory/Home Debut, and one anonymous donor.
“We wish the joy of Christmas to all the recipients the fund benefits and to all who work so hard to make the fund such a significant contributor to our Christmas celebration in Spokane,” the donors wrote.
Adam and Michele Jessup, of AMJ Farms, Spokane, gave $2,002. The couple donated after Spokesman-Review columnist Doug Clark challenged readers to submit the highest bid for two new bicycles dropped off at the newspaper to benefit the bureau.
Kimmel Athletic Supply Co., of Spokane, and its employees gave $2,000 and wrote, “We are proud to be part of this community-wide display of true Christmas spirit.”
Wagstaff Inc., of Spokane Valley, sent $1,000.
Four anonymous donors gave $500 each, one in memory of their parents and in honor of their children and grandchildren. Another wrote:
“God has blessed me with great wealth in the form of dear friends and family who continue to bring so much joy to my life. God has also blessed me with the ability to make a small contribution to the fund.”
Another anonymous donor said, “We have given to the Christmas Fund for many years because we believe in sharing our blessings with the less fortunate. This year we are increasing our donation to the fund … rather than buying a lot of little gifts for our family. This is in honor of them.”
Tom and Colleen Tracy, of Spokane, sent $500 “as our way of thanking the great staff of the Legal and Lending Support Division at Northwest Farm Credit Services for the wonderful job they did in 2009 serving customers throughout the Northwest.”
Mike and Josie Dix, of Spokane, donated $500 and wrote, “Our family feels blessed and wishes to help other families celebrate Christmas. Blessings to all the wonderful volunteers and donors.”
The following representatives of Spokane Public Schools together gave $500: Nancy Stowell, Staci Vesneske, Karin Short, Lorna Spear, Irene Gonzales, Wendy Bleecker and Terren Roloff.
“As administrators of Spokane Public Schools, we are well aware of the financial hardships facing many of our children and are grateful that the holidays will be brighter because of the Christmas Bureau,” they wrote.
The following Spokane residents gave $300 each: Jim and Linda Solan; Brian Hawkins and Ann Torigoe-Hawkins; and Lora E. Curry.
Bruce and JoAnne Bouma sent $250, as did Spokane Valley residents Fay and Carmel Johnstone and an anonymous donor who gave in memory of Clint and Betty Corliss.
An anonymous donor sent $241.
The following Spokane residents donated $200 each:
Lauretta and Richard Byrd, who hoped their contribution would help continue such a worthy endeavor; the Bindler family; Colleen and Gregory Stevens; Andrew and Leslie Smythe; Ruth Reynolds and Chris Powell, who gave in memory of Ruth’s parents, Bill and Elaine Reynolds, two longtime Christmas Fund donors; and Sharon McGrath-Powell, who wrote:
“I vividly remember as a child my mother sitting at the kitchen window looking out, crying because she had no way to give her four children a Christmas. It was your generous fund that made Christmas for us that year and several years after that. I am very happy to (donate) to help out those in their time of need.”
An anonymous donor sent $150 in memory of her husband, who always gave to the fund.
Heather and David Berndt, of Spokane Valley, sent $125 “in honor of all things merry and bright.”
Six anonymous donors gave $100 each, including one from Reseda, Calif., who donated in honor of his mother, Ann Lloyd, who was raised in Spokane and whose father owned Paul Lloyd’s Drive-In on Northwest Boulevard. Another anonymous donor from Reseda, Calif., who has been unemployed for six months, sent $100 in honor of Betty Kelly.
“Mrs. Kelly lives in Spokane with her husband Richard and has always been helpful to others and wants to help other families celebrate the holidays,” the donor wrote.
Also giving $100 were Douglas Monson; Lorraine and Donald Burghard, of Moses Lake, in memory of Vicki Burghard; Spokane residents Ruth Blum, who hoped to make Christmas a little brighter; James and Sharman Watson; Marvin and Helen Soehren; and Donna, Dennis and Blair Kelly, who gave in honor of their father and grandfather and longtime bureau volunteer Don Kelly.
Katie, Emily, Mackenzie and Jamie sent $60 in memory of their grandfather, C.G. Horton, who recently passed away.
“He will be in our hearts forever,” the girls wrote.
Three anonymous donors gave $50 each, as did Spokane Valley residents Guy and Mildred Shattuck; Spokane residents Scott Hendershot; Judith and Jon Gardner; Jesse Zumbro; and David Hargreaves, in memory of Alan Williams.
Zack and Hilary Kozel sent $40.
An anonymous donor gave $25, as did Mary Harvill and Lesley Dawson in honor of Jim Harvill; Spokane Valley residents Cynthia and Keith Wesley Bly; and Rollin and Gratia Hasness, of Loon Lake, who donated in honor of their daughter and son-in-law, Terry and Paul Giordanella, “because they care so much for others.”
Leslie and Donald Gonzales, of Post Falls, donated $20 and wrote:
“May God bless you for all you have done to help those less fortunate.”