As the Christmas Bureau closed for the season Tuesday, the Christmas Fund – which pays the bills for the charity – picked up steam.
Travis Pattern & Foundry, of Spokane, gave $35,000. It was money the company would otherwise have spent on a Christmas party, President Travis Garske wrote.
“We hope we can help make Christmas a little brighter for some Spokane families,” he wrote. “We wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a great new year in 2012.”
The bureau saw an uptick in traffic on its last day, distributing 868 grocery vouchers – one for each household served.
“The lines have slowed down, but it’s been a steady flow all day,” bureau coordinator Judy Lee said Tuesday afternoon, as volunteers printed out vouchers and helped the bureau’s last recipients choose toys and books for their children.
“It’s good. We’re helping more people.”
In all, the Christmas Bureau served 35,561 people over 10 days this year. That’s about 300 more people than it served in 2010. The bureau set a record in 2009, providing holiday help to about 35,800 people.
The people served this year included 17,321 children.
While there’s no income requirement to receive gifts at the bureau, the average income of households served was $1,041 a month.
“We were pleased we were able to serve so many people,” Lee said after saying goodbye to the last of the volunteers, the bureau’s computers, tables and remaining toys and books inventoried and headed to storage. “The volunteers did a great job. Spokane should be proud.”
The Christmas Bureau is organized by Catholic Charities Spokane, Volunteers of America and The Spokesman-Review to give Christmas presents to people in need. It’s paid for by newspaper readers’ donations to the Christmas Fund.
Volunteer Mary Tyllia, 60 – working her first shift – bagged up toys for recipients to take home Tuesday.
She said she was impressed by the event’s level of organization and the size of the crowd served.
“They keep thanking us, and we keep thanking them for coming,” said Tyllia, of Spokane, a clinical instructor in the laboratory at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center who came with a group of co-workers.
Toria Rollins waited for a friend near the bureau’s exit doors, a bag containing a game for her son in hand.
“God bless the Christmas Bureau and the community for donating,” said Rollins, 33, of Spokane.
Rollins, a hairdresser, said she hasn’t been able to work since injuring her shoulder two years ago. But even when she was working, she said, her wages didn’t cover everything, and she’s used the Christmas Bureau as a resource before.
Part of what brought her back, she said, was the kindness demonstrated by the bureau’s hundreds of volunteers.
“They’re people people,” Rollins said.
The Christmas Fund’s goal: $525,000. Donations of all sizes are accepted with gratitude. PayPal donations should be made by noon Friday to allow time for online processing. Donations made in person should be dropped off by Tuesday. And donations made by mail should arrive by next Wednesday.
Including the gift from Travis Pattern & Foundry, the Christmas Fund now stands at $350,799.26. Other donations:
Pacific Steel & Recycling, of Spokane, gave $3,000.
Walker’s Furniture gave $1,000. “The past few years have been difficult for many families in our communities, the holiday season being particularly trying,” Mark Walker wrote. “We are blessed to live in a community that will help those in need.”
Anonymous donors from Creston, Wash., also gave $1,000.
The faculty of University High School in Spokane Valley gave $855. “We are proud to show our spirit as Titans,” they wrote.
Dr. and Mrs. Michael Berg, of Spokane, gave $850.
Wilson Tool & Manufacturing, of Spokane, gave $600.
Susan Boyd and Linda Ashlock, of Liberty Lake, gave $500 and wrote, “Merry Christmas, everyone!”
The Richard & Connie Stacey Donor-Advised Fund at the Inland Northwest Community Foundation gave $400.
Robert and Anita Lamp, of Spokane, gave $300 in memory of Ned Barnes. An anonymous donor from Spokane also gave $300, as did another anonymous donor.
Edward Ring gave $291 via PayPal.
The Spokane Alumnae Chapter of Alpha Iota gave $275. “Thank you for all the good you do,” wrote its philanthropy chairwoman, Sue Lee. “Our gals wanted to help.”
A gift of $250 came “anonymous from Saltese.” Inland Empire Drywall, of Spokane Valley, also gave $250, as did Harry Fuhs, of Spokane; the Fulgaro family, of Spokane – Patricia, Anthony, Nicholas, Faith and Jasper; and Ryan Baddeley, of Liberty Lake.
The following Spokane residents gave $200: Marvin and Helen Soehren; Carl and Anna Rabe; an anonymous donor, in honor of her husband and mother; Curt and Nancy Wickre; Flo Fiveash; John and Whitney Sestero; Larry and Tudy Hatch; and Bob Harwood.
Also giving $200: The employees of Creighton Engineering, of Spokane; Sarah and Emma Vogelman, in honor of their grandfathers; an anonymous couple from Mead; and Smithmoore and Sandy Sandulo Myers.
Donors who gave $150: Bryce and Cheryl Backus, of Spokane Valley; Paul and Kelly Moorman, of Spokane; and an anonymous donor.
Michael Williams gave $145.35 via PayPal.
The following Spokane residents gave $100: Arlen and Charleene Ristuben; Jon and Judith Gardner; Bertha and Douglas Jayne; Peg and Chuck Leslie, on behalf of the Leslie family; Brian and Mary Smith, in memory of Denny; Veronique Alcaraz; George Schroeder; Eugene and Noreen Sivertson; Brian Trudeau; John and Kay Feirich; and an anonymous donor. John and Kathleen McCarthy, of Spokane, gave $100 and wrote, “Thank you to all the volunteers who so generously give their time and talents to provide a brighter Christmas for the less fortunate.”
Others who gave $100: Richard and Kaye Dickerson, of Spokane Valley; Helen Boyles, of Spokane Valley; Diane Jepsen-Gilliland, of Chattaroy, in memory of her son Larry Jepsen; Bob and Dorothy Yohe, of Spirit Lake, gave $100 in memory of their son, Ken Anderson, “who loved to buy for the children at Christmas.” Spencer and Rebecca Bringhurst, of Greenacres, also gave $100, as did Lowell and Shirley Mouser, of Otis Orchards, and N.W. Dent, of Veradale.
More $100 donors: Connie and Jamie Spawn, in honor of their teachers at St. Thomas More – Mr. Ward, Mr. McCollum, Mrs. Zener and Mr. Hare; James and Carrie Bosshardt; Patrick and Susan DeVries; Judy and Alan Olson; Debbie Reinbold; and two separate anonymous donors.
Jordan Thaxton gave $100 in honor of Ron and Carole Thaxton, Christmas Bureau volunteers. The family of Russell and Helen Inman sent $100 in their memory. The Inmans were fund donors, their family wrote, and “we know they both would want to continue their tradition.” Fred and Carole Zitterkopf gave $100 “in honor of a good person, Lacey Meyerhoff. Pay it forward.” And Fernley NV, MaKayla, Christopher, Christen, Michael and Tyler Hatch gave $100 in memory of Grandpa PT and Grandma Carolyn.
Julie Ohlund gave $96.80 via PayPal.
Joan Pribnow, of Spokane, gave $75. Michael Brown, of Spokane, also gave $75.
Spokane residents who gave $50: Ross and Carol Roeber; Donald and Annetta Farr; Alex Rizzuto; Jeff and Christine Stevens; and Linda and Gary Williamson.
Others who gave $50: W. Richard White, of Spokane Valley; Rose Rogers, of Spokane Valley, “in memory of Dale C. Rogers and all who died too young in my family”; Janice Holcomb, of Mead, “for my twin grandsons, as our family is so blessed to be able to have a wonderful Christmas”; Marty Beresford and Susanne Tuson, of Colbert; Raymond Morrison, of Deer Park; and an anonymous couple.
The Ferrells, of Mead, gave $40.
Jacquelyn Daniell, of Spokane, gave $35 in memory of Monica Abbott. Janet Hunt, of Oldtown, Idaho, gave $35 in memory of her daughter, Dawn Hunt, who would have turned 35 this year, and in memory of “my dear best friend, Diane Morales, who passed on the 7th.”
Donors who gave $25: anonymous donors from Spokane; Roger and Janet Steele, of Sun City West, Ariz.; Margot Wilson, of Spokane Valley; David, Eva and Jessica McChesney, of Spokane, in memory of Martin and Libertad Novilla, Bill and Irene McChesney and Leslie Ann McChesney; Larry and Bonnie Owens, of Spokane Valley; and another anonymous donor.
Express Employment Professionals gave $20.72.
Janis Nelson, of Spokane, sent $20 and a note: “I’m a lifelong resident (79 years), and I have loved every minute of this wonderful town so full of the giving spirit.”
An anonymous donor gave $10.
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