faith in generosity
Religious leaders, both new to community, touched by bureau’s work helping those in need
Michael Goldstein was the only man in a yarmulke at the Christmas Bureau on Tuesday.
Temple Beth Shalom’s new rabbi called the event “a beautiful thing.”
“It reaches across religious lines, across racial lines, across ethnic lines, and seeks to just make things a little bit easier for people in need,” Goldstein said.
Goldstein joined Roman Catholic Bishop Blase Cupich – also new in his role – to tour the bureau and meet volunteers.
Cupich was installed as head of the Spokane Catholic Diocese in September after overseeing a diocese in South Dakota. Goldstein took his position at Spokane’s Temple Beth Shalom in August; he previously led a congregation in New Jersey.
Goldstein said he was encouraged to visit by members of his congregation who are Christmas Bureau volunteers. Picking up on a tradition where retired Bishop William Skylstad left off, Cupich delivered a cake for volunteers to share during their breaks.
The Christmas Bureau is a joint effort by Catholic Charities Spokane, Volunteers of America and The Spokesman-Review. The charity distributes toys, books and grocery vouchers to anyone who needs them, as long as they meet specific ID requirements. Donations from newspaper readers to the Christmas Fund pay for the 10-day event, which continues through Monday (it’s closed Sunday).
Bureau coordinators led the men through the operation.
“So this room is called the North Pole,” Cupich said, surveying the toys piled in reserve in a room behind the bureau’s public area.
“I really love the fact that you give them a book, too,” Goldstein said after surveying the range of options for children ages birth to 14.
Goldstein said he was “moved by the spirit of generosity that the people of Spokane are offering to people in need.”
So moved, he said, that he plans to encourage members of his congregation – especially the teenagers – to lend some muscle behind the scenes during next year’s event.
Donations totaling $31,778.98 bring the Christmas Fund to $228,828.26.
The employees, management and owners of Rings & Things, of Spokane, donated $4,000. “We are reminded daily that too many people in our community do not have adequate income or decent housing,” owners Russ Nobbs and Dee Mueller wrote. “We hope that our contribution will help the Christmas Bureau to make this a holiday filled with sharing and joy for more of our neighbors in Spokane.”
Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories, of Spokane, donated $3,100. The organization’s employees in Spokane donated an additional $765.
Kimmel Athletic Supply Co., of Spokane, donated $2,500. “We are proud to be teammates with the community in this great cause,” Brian Davis wrote.
An anonymous Spokane couple donated $2,427.20 via PayPal.
Merle Lepouce, of Spokane, donated $2,000. Max J. Kuney Co., of Spokane, also gave $2,000.
Michael Flannery, of Spokane, gave $1,000 in memory of Gordon, Linda, Francis and Norah Flannery.
Spokane residents who gave $500: Robert and Jean Kendall; Harry Fuhs, in memory of his wife, Donna Fuhs; Christine Johnson; Clay and Andrea Clausen; Donna Hares, in memory of Donald Hares; and an anonymous donor, in “memory of family gone before.” The Shadle Lions Club, of Spokane, also donated $500, as did an anonymous donor from Mead.
Ryan Baddeley donated $485.20 via PayPal. Ron and Diane Kaufman donated $485.20 via PayPal and wrote: “We’re thankful and happy to share God’s blessings with others.” An anonymous couple from Chattaroy gave $325.
Fred and Norrine Potts, of Spokane Valley, gave $300. Peter and Sharon Fairchild, of Liberty Lake, gave $300. The Physicians Clinic of Spokane sent $300 and a note: “This check represents donations made by employees, staff and providers for the privilege of wearing blue jeans to work on ‘Blue Jean Friday.’ All donations are matched by the clinic.”
The Barbara Augusta Gift Fund gave $250, as did an anonymous couple from Spokane.
Spokane residents who sent $200: Carl and Anna Rabe; Norman Genung; Rob and Laurie Sargent; Joe and Jan Kaley; and an anonymous couple.
Also giving $200: Patrick and Daryl Kleweno, of Endicott, Wash.; Wesley and Dorothy Newbill, of Otis Orchards; and Del and Ruth Mattix, of Veradale.
Todd Caldwell, of Caldwell Concrete in Veradale, gave $150 in memory of his brother and grandfather. Colleen Birchill, of Spokane, gave $150 “in memory of Jack, who always gave.” An anonymous couple from Spokane gave $125 in memory of Dorothy Gordon. Ronald and Naomi Franklin, of Spokane, gave $125.
Sherry Murr donated $121.07 via PayPal.
Spokane Valley residents who gave $100: James Kearney; James and Helen Skindlov; Ken Benge; and Robert Mueller, who wrote: “I feel very fortunate to have a roof over my head and food on the table. Just hope this will help someone have a merry Christmas.” Spokane residents who gave $100: Ellen Ostheller; Donna and Del Topoll; Richard and Alice Hayes; David and Maxine Breshears; R.K. and Eva Akers; P.P. and Molly Lynch; James and Mary Gail Dunn; Bruce and Frances Rogers; Leslie Hall; Linda and Gary Faire; two separate anonymous donors; Theodore and Virginia Czechowski; Ralph Coston; Frank Franciscovich; Lenore and Bob Romney; and an anonymous couple.
The Backus family, of Spokane Valley, gave $100 in honor of Christmas Bureau volunteers and in memory of James Clark, Les and Geneva Backus, Dusty Dutt, Don Barnhouse, Fran Sprague and Peggy Fields.
Other $100 donors: Jean Rose, of Nine Mile Falls; Roger and Dianna Johnson, of Colbert; a group of Mt. Spokane High School students; the Helmer family, of Colbert; and Mark and Jessie Bekken, of Questar Marketing in Spokane, in honor of their clients and friends.
Gene Hubbell, of Cathedral City, Calif., donated $100 “in memory of my parents, Cliff and Pearl Hubbell, and close lifetime friend, Esther McCauley.” Robert Breidenbach, of Spoke ’N Sport in Spokane, also sent $100.
Each donating $96.80 via PayPal: Janice Graham and Charles Hamill.
Anne Franke, of Spokane, gave $73.
An anonymous donor from Spokane Valley gave $60.
Mrs. Antonio’s fifth-graders at Moran Prairie Elementary School gave $59.62. They sent a note explaining that they’d brought coins to school to use to play dreidel, “a game that our teacher plays as part of her culture.” The note continued: “In social studies we researched our family histories and shared how we all got to America. We would like to share our collected money with people who may need help in celebrating their holidays.”
Spokane residents who gave $50: three separate anonymous donors; two separate anonymous couples; David, Eva and Jessica McChesney; Virginia Robinette; Linnea Carlson; Dudley Mizoguchi, in memory of John Traynor; Jody Leifer, in memory of Rita Duran; Tracey McHenry and Brian Donahue; Eric and Suzanne Bofenkamp; and William and Janet Hale.
Ed and Georgia Merz, of Spokane, sent $50 and a note: “Thanks to all who help make the Christmas Fund such an amazing story!” Raean King, of Spokane, sent $50 on behalf of her daughter Lisa, 12: “This donation was at the top of her Christmas list. She said that she would forgo a Christmas present to help a less fortunate child this Christmas season.”
Also giving $50: Sara and Sherwood Jones, of Cheney; Mike Wolfe, of Cheney; an anonymous couple from Spokane Valley; another anonymous donor from Spokane Valley; and Mark and Pip Witner, of Mead, in memory of Lloyd Kay. A donation of $50 was made “in the name of Abby P. and her Papa.”
Ray, Liz and Kiley Schatz and Jared and Lauren Smith gave $47 “in memory of our sister and aunt, Karen Schatz Dunning, who would have been 47 this year.”
Mary Palmer, of Spokane, gave $35.
Steve and Sherry Niska, of Spokane, gave $30, as did an anonymous donor from Spokane Valley.
Stephanie Santschi donated $28.83 via PayPal, as did Diane Reid. An anonymous donor donated $28.83 via PayPal in memory of Gene and Dixie Carbery and wrote, “I know your family misses and loves you.”
Spokane residents who gave $25: an anonymous donor; another anonymous donor; Gail Kiser; Susan Smith; Bob and Pat Harland; Jeffrey and Judy Koons; and Marilyn Elliott, who wrote: “Your efforts are a testimony to the generosity and kindness of our neighbors.” William Griffiths, of Nine Mile Falls, gave $25, as did Joni and Warren Omans, of Otis Orchards.
Spokane Valley residents who gave $25: Tony and Sally Faraca; Roy and Dorothy Wisecarver; Donald and Rosemarie Rader.
Giving $20: King Suk and Yvonne Yim, of Spokane; an anonymous donor from Spokane; Kathleen Winters, of Cheney; and another anonymous donor.
An anonymous donor from Greenacres gave $15.
An anonymous donor gave $10.