The Christmas Fund is growing closer to its goal, thanks in part to a hefty gift from Garco Construction and the people who work there.
Garco’s $20,000 check, which includes $3,930 in contributions from its employees, is among dozens of donations to the fund that combine companies’ or owners’ gifts with contributions from employees. They add up to sizable gifts that will help pay expenses at the Christmas Bureau, a 10-day charity that gives toys, children’s books and grocery vouchers to low-income families.
Many companies let employees volunteer for small paycheck deductions and then donate a matching amount.
That’s how Landmark Restaurants, which operates the Onion Bar & Grills and Frank’s Diners, reached its $6,300 contribution.
Landmark employees can donate a small amount to the Christmas Bureau from each paycheck, President Ken Belisle said.
Especially near its downtown restaurants, Belisle said, poverty in the community is obvious. The payroll deduction program, which benefits other charities as well, is a way for the company to help. And with 160 employees, “those quarters add up quick,” he said. Landmark’s owners match the employees’ donations.
Over about 25 years, Landmark and its workers have given about $150,000 to the bureau, according to Belisle. The downtown Onion recently put up a display of photos taken at the bureau to reflect its longtime connection to the charity.
Amy Bumgardner, 21, a server at the downtown Onion, is among the donors.
“It’s always good to give part of what you earn to people who can’t earn anything,” said Bumgardner, of Spokane, a student at Spokane Community College.
Workers at Rings & Things, of Spokane, also volunteer for payroll deductions that are matched by its owners. The beading supply business gave $3,000 this year.
“We are reminded daily that too many people in our community do not have an adequate income, affordable health care 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.”
Garco Construction’s donation of $20,000 represents a way for the company to give back to the community, wrote Garco CEO James Welsh, President Clancy Welsh and vice presidents Hollis Barnett and James Welsh Jr.
Citing projects completed in 2011 including those for Spokane Public Schools and local governments, they wrote: “We at Garco have recognized our blessings and would like to pass on a contribution … to assist the less fortunate in our community.”
The bureau ended Tuesday after serving more than 35,000 people, including more than 17,000 children. But the effort to raise money to pay the bureau’s bills continues. The goal is to raise $525,000.
Including the donations from Garco, Landmark and Rings & Things, the Christmas Fund now stands at $427,141.54. Other new donations:
Carolyn and Gerald Santantonio, of Spokane, gave $10,000.
The staff at Justus Bag Co., of Spokane Valley, gave $7,500. “In memory of our founder, Roland ‘Curly’ Justus, we are happy to enclose our gift,” they wrote.
Moloney O’Neill donated $5,200. “It is inspiring to see how the residents and businesses get behind this great cause to help those in need, and we are honored to be a part of it,” read an accompanying note. “Moloney O’Neill wishes a Merry Christmas to all the volunteers who give their time and energy to make the Christmas Fund a reality.”
Kile Machine & Manufacturing, of Rosalia, Wash., gave $2,000.
Bill and Mary Murphy gave $1,500.
An anonymous donor gave $1,000.
Allan, Ronda, Andrea and Melissa Moorhead, of Spokane Valley, gave $750. Nancy Evans, of Spokane, also gave $750.
Pat and Susan DeVries and their employees at DeVries Business Services, of Spokane, gave $500. “The Spokane region is a giving and caring community, and we are proud to participate,” they wrote. Carol Haugen, of Spokane, also gave $500, as did an anonymous donor from Spokane.
Jay and Janette Rudd, of Veradale, gave $400 in memory of Mae Cannon, Wally Rudd, Jack Cannon and Ken Trent. Ted and Winnie Allen, of Spokane, also gave $400.
Donors who gave $300: Galina Sinekopova and Igor Klyukanov, of Spokane; Marian and Robert Cummings, of Spokane; and Eris Heggem, of Spokane Valley. An anonymous donor sent $300. Another anonymous donor gave $300 in memory of Harriet Allen.
Carolyn and Jim Craven, of Spokane, gave $250.
Paul and Laurie Grubb, of Spokane, gave $220.
Spokane residents who gave $200: Lily May Emert and Annette Seubert; Teresa and J. Gary Critzer, in memory of Jim and Lois Critzer; Rand and Erin Young; an anonymous couple; and another anonymous couple – two former Christmas Bureau volunteers.
Others who gave $200: Michael Mikos, of Spokane Valley; an anonymous donor from Millwood; Sharon and William Beck, of Otis Orchards; and the Morales family, of Medical Lake. The Weaver “kids” gave $200 “in loving memory of Mom and Dad.”
Margaret Miller, of Spokane, gave $180 in honor of her father and in memory of her mother.
Brian and Sharon Brunck, of Mead, and B&B Graphic Services gave $160.
Carl and Delene Christian, of Spokane, gave $150 “to help those less fortunate than us, and in loving memory of Gramps, Mark K. Hollenback.” Others who gave $150: William and Jody Franks, of Spokane; an anonymous donor from Spokane, in memory of Kathleen Rotchford, “whose generosity inspired us all”; and Kevin and Helen Paulson, of Spokane, in memory of Roger Underwood and Beverly Sharp.
The Caldwell family gave $150 “in loving memory of Craig and Grandpa.” The Vinje sisters – Prasti Vinje Purdum, of Lakewood, Ohio; Astrid Vinje, of Seattle; and Michelle Vinje, of Edmonds, Wash. – also gave $150.
An anonymous donor from Spokane gave $130 in memory of Dorothy Gordon.
Marie Fruin, of Spokane Valley, gave $125.
Spokane residents who gave $100: Jerry and Dorie Berger; Anita Kernie; Allen and Sue Hoover; Tom and Mary Lacey; Grace and Scott Hege, in memory of Clark Hege; Peter and Charlotte Yocum; Leonette and James Hiller; Emmett and Marylu Arndt, in memory of Carl and Mildred Konsbruck; James and Lisa Northcott, in memory of their son Andrew; and four separate anonymous donors.
Spokane Valley residents who gave $100: an anonymous donor, in memory of Joe Seipp and Chuck Oberlander; Michael Marleau, in memory of Tera Jones; Donald Stewart, “in memory of my beloved wife Judy”; and John Tiffany, in memory of Dorothy.
Samuel and Frederika Wetterhus, of Colbert, gave $100 in memory of their son, Bob, and their niece, Danielle. Others who gave $100: J.G., of Greenacres, in memory of his wife, Chris; Clarence and Marcia Rae Mielke, of Liberty Lake; Frances Mann, of Liberty Lake, “in honor of my wonderful family”; Cathy Walter, of Otis Orchards; Jay and Birgitta Landreth, of Tum Tum, Wash.; John Swanstrom Jr., of Coeur d’Alene; another anonymous donor; and Lyle and Rosalie Lueck.
George and Pamela Young gave $100 in memory of Daniel and Adeline Young. And Phillis Elliott, Mary Jo Lantz, Matt Meyers, Cara, Michael and Noah Geiger and Marsha Meyers gave $100 in memory of Nick Meyers, who “always believed Christmas was for children.”
Darryl “Molasses” Stephens gave $79.03 “in memory of my parents, Mike and Emma; my brothers, Payton and Joseph; my son Alan; and my best friend, Joe Keogh.”
Nancy Biggerstaff, of Spokane sent $75 and wrote: “Rather than exchanging gifts in Gamma Laureate Beta – hope for families in need.” An anonymous donor also gave $75.
Spokane residents who gave $50: Kenneth Duncan; Mr. and Mrs. James Tuttle; Virginia Smith, in honor of her grandson and his wife, Creed and Rowena Smith; Tracey McHenry and Brian Donahue, of Spokane, in memory of Sally Eaton; John and Marian Miller, in memory of Arnold; and Harvey and Mona Porter.
More Spokane residents who gave $50: Steven and Susan Anderson; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Anselmo; three separate anonymous donors; another anonymous donor, “in honor of the dedicated staff and volunteers of the Christmas Bureau”; Linda and Kenneth Leyde; Frank and Patricia Anselmo; and Julie and Lee Fish, in memory of their parents.
Others donors who gave $50: Roger and Linda Rivers, of Newman Lake; anonymous donors in honor of Greta Rizzuti, Spokane resident and former public school music teacher; John and Oma Karin on behalf of Mason and Bailey Lombardi; and another anonymous donor gave $50.
Richie and Elise Holliday gave $48.25 via PayPal.
Mary Campbell, of Spokane, gave $30.
Giving $25: Ruth and Mackay Miller, of Spokane; Dan and Kelli Jay, of Spokane; Laurel and William Powell, of Spokane Valley; and the O’Dells, of Nine Mile Falls. Ziva gave $25 in memory of Mazie.
Giving $20 were Spokane residents Utonna Hannum; Javier and Teresa Alcarez; and Dan Willingham. An anonymous donor from Spokane also gave $20.
An anonymous donor from Spokane Valley gave $15.