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With large gifts coming in, Christmas Fund nears goal

On the eve of Christmas, the Christmas Fund is close to its goal.

The fund, which pays for gifts for thousands of low-income residents, now stands at $481,568.60.

That’s thanks in part to a $7,500 donation from Avista Utilities.

“Our community is blessed with a strong spirit of giving, especially to those who are most in need,” President Dennis Vermillion wrote in an accompanying letter. “… Everyone working together gives thousands of families in our area the opportunity to share the food and glad tidings that are such an inspiring part of this holiday season.”

There’s still time to give to the fund in person or by mail. The Christmas Fund pays the bills at the Christmas Bureau, which distributed toys, books and grocery vouchers to more than 35,000 children and adults in need over 10 days this month.

Donations delivered in person should be delivered to The Spokesman- Review’s offices by Tuesday.

Donations made by mail should arrive by Wednesday, so they need to be mailed soon.

Besides Avista, other businesses and residents gave generous gifts.

Geriatric Family Care, of Spokane, gave $5,000. “We have had many blessings in our lives: family, meaningful work, good health. We have had a good business year,” read an accompanying note. “We would like to share with those who have not been as fortunate.”

Acme Concrete Paving also gave $5,000.

Bernardo-Wills Architects, of Spokane, gave $2,500 “in honor of our exceptional clients. This year rather than send corporate gifts of fruit or candy that are eaten and quickly forgotten, we wanted our gift to have a more lasting effect.”

JMA Commercial Real Estate, of Spokane, gave $1,500 on behalf of the company’s clients, customers and tenants.

The Assistants, a women’s fundraising and service group in Spokane, gave $1,000.

Tim and Jackie Randall, of Cheney, gave $500. Cameron-Reilly Concrete Contractors, of Spokane, gave $500 “in the name of all employees.”

Jack and Pat Russell, of Spokane Valley, gave $400 “in memory of our lost loved ones.”

Craig Thielman, of Spokane, gave $300 in memory of “my wonderful guitar teacher, Vince Tayon.”

The Reclothery gave $250 in memory of Rebecca Schiering. “We are pleased to be able to carry on her legacy at the store and are honored to be able to give this gift, to such a worthwhile cause, in her memory,” read an enclosed note.

Giving $200: an anonymous donor from Spokane; Colleen and Gregory Stevens, of Spokane; an anonymous donor from Cheney; and K.G. Redlin Properties, of Spokane Valley.

Scott McGann at Payne Financial Group gave $195. “In keeping with our popular tradition, in lieu of buying gifts for our clients, we want to share with the residents of Spokane,” he wrote.

The Harbour family, of Lolo, Mont., gave $125 in honor of Eileen Lant, her husband, Jef, her sons, Bryan, David, Benjamin and Samuel, her daughter-in-law Lindsey and her granddaughter Gianna.

Andy, Brendan and Patrick Green gave $101.

Spokane residents who gave $100: Michael and Judith Dalich; two separate anonymous donors; and Jim, Dawn, Cassidy and Ryan Crosswhite, of Spokane, “in memory of T.J. Crosswhite, who was born on Christmas Day 1936 and loved the Christmas spirit.”

Other donors who gave $100: Helen Widman, of Spokane Valley; Diana Flory, of Otis Orchards; Denise Mutschler, of Cheney; an anonymous donor, “in memory of Frances Risdon”; an anonymous donor from Garfield, Wash.; RJ and Julie Cornell, of Seattle, in honor of Duke and Sue Cornell; Donald and Eleanor Limmer; Patrick and Jeanine Kelly; two more separate anonymous donors; and Mike and Norma Sullivan, of Colbert, who wrote, “We feel blessed to be able to help. Thanks to you all for having such big hearts.”

George and Elise Bozzo, of Veradale, gave $80.

Jesse Zumbro, of Hesperia, Calif., gave $75.

Tamara Holdren, of Spokane, gave $60 “in gratitude for six healthy, happy grandchildren.” Lori and Vic Roberts, of Kennewick, gave $60 on behalf of Bonnie Roberts.

Spokane residents who gave $50: David and Rosanne Whitney; Steven and Wanda Daehlin; and Mary Cayer.

Others who gave $50: Bette and Don Grenier, of Chattaroy; the Wagner family, of Spokane Valley; the Northwest Treasure Hunters Club; and an anonymous donor.

Harmonee and Hazen Miller, of Colbert, gave $40 in honor of their cousins Anna and John Phifer. Wendy Holmes, of Spokane, also gave $40, as did an anonymous donor from Coeur d’Alene. Douglas and Jane Savadalena, of Spokane Valley, gave $40.

Jeremy Weaver gave $38.54 via PayPal.

An anonymous couple from Spokane gave $35.

Angela Lalonde gave $28.83 via PayPal.

The following people gave $25: Rich and Mary Hedrick, of Spokane; Ruth and Arlan Roberts, of Spokane; Dorothy Stuart, of Spokane, in memory of her husband, Max; anonymous donors from Elk, Wash.; and another anonymous donor.

Nathan Empsall gave $23.97 via PayPal.

An anonymous donor from Spokane gave $20.72.

Betty Holien, of Spokane, gave $20. Brad Smith and Carol Christnacht also gave $20.

Kevin Gruetzner gave $11.35 via PayPal.

An anonymous donor gave $9.