Merry Christmas to Spokane, from Spokane.
Here’s your present: Barbie and her car. A miniature easel, just your size. A doll who laughs when you poke her tummy. A helicopter that really flies. A game to play with your mom, because that’s what you two do together.
A board book with shapes and colors and chewable pages. Junie B. Jones. Your own copy of “Pride and Prejudice,” to read over and over under the covers.
A ham for Christmas dinner. A turkey with stuffing. Produce. A little more freedom than usual, to buy what you really want at the grocery store – a bit of luxury.
Here’s your other present: You live in a community with people who care about you. The 6-year-old who emptied his piggy bank and the eighth-grader who sent his birthday cash and the woman who sent $7 but was too embarrassed by the amount to give her name – those people care about you. People sold candy, they saved up all year, they gave despite the hits they’ve taken, too, in this down economy.
Sometimes the size of their donations was astonishing. They gave from all over Spokane, but also from all around the Inland Northwest and from faraway states.
Each person and business who gave to the Christmas Fund gave generously.
Today 17,321 children have a toy and a book for Christmas, thanks to the Christmas Fund, which pays for the Christmas Bureau, which runs on the sweat and time of hundreds of volunteers who give the presents to people in need.
In all, 35,561 people received gifts.
The Christmas Fund now stands at $504,210.43. That’s its highest level on Christmas Day since 2008.
This year’s goal is to raise $525,000. Donations of all sizes are still accepted with gratitude.
The owners and employees of Huppin’s TV, Audio, Cameras and More and OneCall.com gave a total of $4,800. “We feel privileged to live and work in Spokane,” President Murray Huppin wrote.
Kilgore Architectural Products, of Spokane, gave $2,500 on behalf of its employees and their families. “We have been fortunate and blessed this year with work and would like to give back to our community,” President Mike Kilgore wrote.
An anonymous couple from Spokane Valley gave $1,500.
The employees of the Maintenance, Warehouse, Facility Services and Purchasing departments of Spokane Public Schools gave $1,087. “While we take pride in supporting public education in Spokane on a daily basis, it is with glad hearts that we also support this very worthy and necessary endeavor within our community,” wrote the chairmen of their fundraising committee.
Scott and Lori Schuldt, of Spokane, gave $1,000. Keith and Jane Slater, of Spokane, gave $1,000. The Max J. Kuney Co., of Spokane, gave $1,000. And Fasteners, a Spokane company, also gave $1,000.
Doug Herrman gave $970.70 via PayPal.
Diane and Einer Larson, of Almira, gave $650.
Two separate anonymous donors from Spokane gave $500, as did the Wagner family, of Spokane. Another anonymous donor also gave $500.
Benji Estrellado at Cheney Realty gave $485.20 via PayPal. “I’ve always thought of giving to the Christmas Fund when business was great but didn’t,” Estrellado wrote. “Now that business is down I want to give because I know that people need it even more in this economy.”
Giving $300: the Shadle Lions Club, of Spokane; Sella’s, of Pullman; and an anonymous couple from Spokane, who gave “in memory of our son Terry, who died 12 years ago from leukemia. Yours was his favorite fund.”
Donald and Delphine Ladd, of Spokane, gave $275.
Daniel and Theresa Lennon, of Spokane, gave $250.
Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute, of Spokane, gave $218.74.
Sharon McGrath-Powell, of Spokane, gave $200. “We are our brother’s keepers,” she wrote. “As a young child I was the recipient of those who could give at the Christmas Bureau, and now it is my turn to help someone in need.” The Barber family, of Spokane, gave $200 “in memory of King Cole, who did so much for the Spokane community.” Dennis and Lucinda Healy, of Spokane, also gave $200, as did an anonymous donor from Spokane.
Timothy Gallagher and Yong R. Son, of Spokane, gave $150. Direct Mail Enterprises, of Spokane, also gave $150.
An anonymous donor from Airway Heights gave $125 and wrote, “Thank you for continuing this wonderful tradition!”
The following Spokane residents gave $100: Hans and Gladys Johnson; Sharon and Eddie Cassens; Josie and Michael Dix, who sent a note thanking Christmas Bureau volunteers; Philip and Brit Penberthy, in memory of Adeline Penberthy and Jim Eidsmo; two separate anonymous couples; Mary Jane and Dave Broom; Beth and Eric Calkins, “in honor of the Calkins-Carlson clan”; Raland and Cindi John; and Doneen Trust.
Cecile and Robert LaFountain, of Spokane Valley, gave $75. Julie Lehman, of Spokane Valley, gave $75 in honor of her employer, Colleen Stevens.
Steve Reed gave $50.19 via PayPal.
Spokane residents who gave $50: Tom and Mary Fleming; Joan and Larry Griffith; Dan Felgar and Shirley Miller, in memory of their moms, Audrey and Alberta; and Gratia Hasness, in honor of her daughter and son-in-law, Terry and Paul Giordanella, “who always give to the less fortunate.”
Others who gave $50: South Hill Jewelers, of Spokane; Rhonda Krauss; an anonymous donor, in honor of their mother, Ann Lloyd; and another anonymous donor, in honor of Betty Kelly, who “wants to help other families celebrate the holidays.”
Parker Slater and Connor Slater each gave $30.
Donors who gave $25: Frederic Hodge, of Spokane; Cory and Kelly Quinn, of Spokane; Clay and Amy Gehring, of Rosalia, Wash.; and Jack Slater.
Buddy Slater gave $20.
Later-arriving donations will be reported in the newspaper next Sunday.