Keenan Loughery took time to think about it when his parents asked him what he wanted for his 13th birthday.
That’s typical, said his mother, Jenny Loughery. Even as a little kid, he didn’t give quick answers.
His eventual reply – that he’d like money he could give to someone who needed help – wasn’t a surprise, either.
“His sense of justice and sense of right and wrong were always really clear, even in the beginning,” Jenny Loughery said.
Keenan’s birthday was March 31. He took eight months to decide where to send the money he received from relatives. He considered giving to the Red Cross to help victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Ultimately, he chose the Christmas Fund, because he wanted to help people in his own community.
The Cheney Middle School eighth-grader’s donation of $150 will go toward toys, children’s books and grocery vouchers at the Christmas Bureau, which will give them to people in need starting Friday. Last year the bureau’s recipients included more than 17,000 children, the vast majority of them living in or near Spokane.
As Keenan’s birthday approached, the tsunami’s aftermath was ravaging Japanese communities. Closer to home, he was troubled that kids at school were suffering because their parents didn’t have enough money.
Those people, abroad and at home, wouldn’t be getting birthday presents, he said. As he thought about his birthday, “I was thinking I might as well get money to help people who didn’t get stuff that I already have.”
Her son made his decision with a “humble heart,” Jenny Loughery said, and out of gratitude for what he has.
Keenan is the oldest of five kids. His youngest siblings are twins, 6-year-old girls.
Jenny Loughery works part-time as a registered nurse. Keenan’s father, Kyle Loughery, is an athletic trainer and a physical education teacher at Cheney High School.
His family’s not rich, Keenan said, but they have enough. His family has their own home, while others have to share.
Jenny Loughery said Keenan is a natural leader with a desire to serve others, which is handy when you have four younger siblings behind you.
She’s grateful, she said, that “the one in the front seems to know where he’s going.”
The Christmas Bureau is organized by Catholic Charities Spokane and the Volunteers of America with The Spokesman-Review. Donations to the Christmas Fund pay the bills.
Including Keenan Loughery’s $150 gift, the fund now stands at $75,171.11. Other new donations:
The Association of Retired Avista Employees gave $500. Eric and Judy Spangenberg, of Pullman, also gave $500, as did Roger and Kathleen Chase, of Spokane.
Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Mitchel, of Spokane, gave $400. Christy and Tom Hamilton, of Colbert, also gave $400.
Esther Nelson, of Spokane Valley, gave $300.
The Sons of Norway sent $250 and a note: “We are pleased to donate to such a worthy cause that helps so many people. Keep up the good work, citizens of Spokane.” Virgil Duchow, of Spokane, also gave $250, as did Lynn and Alvin Schmidt.
Barbara and R.W. Siers, of Spokane, gave $200, as did Jerome Keller, also of Spokane. An anonymous donor from Spokane Valley also gave $200.
Grace Nissen, of Spokane, sent $125 and a note: “As always every year, I wrote a check for your Christmas Bureau with a big smile, because the money goes to local people in need.” An anonymous donor from Spokane also gave $125.
Shirley Schatz, of Spokane, gave $120 in memory of her husband, Gene, and daughter, Karen Schatz Dunning.
The following Spokane residents gave $100: Phyllis Eide, in honor of her mother, Jacqueline; Leeanne Stallings; an anonymous couple; Annette Lacombe; Dave and Mary Larsen; Marcy and Mark Majeski; Betty Joe McArthur and Hilda Sloper; Merridy and Michael McChesney; Dorothy Hart; and Tom and Mary Anna Bryan. Howie and Jennifer Stalwick, of Post Falls, also gave $100, as did Edward Looker Jr., of Spokane Valley.
Charles Hamil gave $96.80 via PayPal.
George Swan, of Spokane Valley, gave $75.
Donors who gave $50: Rovella Vawter, who wrote: “I appreciate this fund for those in need to have a Christmas”; John Overdorff, of Otis Orchards; an anonymous couple from Spokane Valley; K. Nestoss, of Greenacres, who gave $50 in memory of her dad, Bill Nestoss; and Fran Mann, of Liberty Lake.
The following Spokane residents also gave $50: Elizabeth Russell, “in memory of my dearly missed parents, Chuck and Joy White”; Virginia Stare; Margaret Pansie, “in loving memory of my husband, Richard E. Pansie”; and Virginia Czechowski.
Lois Mundel gave $48.25 via PayPal, as did Tampsin Witner.
Gordon Landberg, of Spokane Valley, gave $40.
Barbara and Robert Jensen, of Spokane Valley, gave $25. Also giving $25: an anonymous donor from Spokane; Ernst and Rita Pickel, of Spokane; and Sheri and J. Kimball Barnard, of Spokane.
C.L. Barber, of Spokane, gave $20.
T.C., of Spokane, gave $20 in memory of Elizabeth.