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Final burst of generosity

Christmas Fund exceeds 2010 goal

Money’s tight, but the Inland Northwest remains generous: The Christmas Fund met its goal and then some.

A hefty donation from Avista Corp. helped put the fund over the top.

“This is an effort that takes 30,000 people and gives them a hand-up at a very special time of year,” said Rob McCann, executive director of Catholic Charities Spokane, which organizes the bureau in collaboration with Volunteers of America and The Spokesman-Review. “I think it’s important that the community give itself a round of applause for making that happen.”

The Christmas Fund pays the bills at the Christmas Bureau, an annual 10-day event that in December distributed toys, books and grocery vouchers to more than 35,000 children and adults in need. The goal was to raise $500,000 in donations from newspaper readers. The final tally: $533,562.06.

Avista gave $15,000.

“We’ve seen first-hand the challenges so many in our area are facing again this year,” Scott Morris wrote in a letter on behalf of the utility’s employees. “We all are particularly saddened by the growing number of people who, for the first time, are struggling to meet their families’ needs. … Spokane is truly a community that cares for families, children and our more vulnerable neighbors who are in need of a helping hand.”

The Klaue Family Foundation also gave $15,000. It was the foundation’s second donation to this year’s fund. The first – also $15,000 – arrived after the close of last year’s fund and was counted in the 2010 tally.

U.S. Consul General Carmela Conroy sent $2,000 from Lahore, Pakistan. Conroy has previously volunteered at the Christmas Bureau while visiting her parents in Spokane. “Sorry I wasn’t home in time to volunteer at the bureau this year!” she wrote in a note accompanying her gift, made in memory of her grandparents, Mark and Marie Hood and Forrest and Elsie Conroy.

David and Melody Coombs, of Spokane, gave $1,200.

Sondra Wildman, of Spokane, gave $1,000.

Vickerman & Driscoll Financial Advisors, of Spokane, donated $1,000.

The professional firefighters of IAFF Local 2916 gave $670.

Spokane residents who gave $500: Edward Van Vliet; Mike and Josie Dix; and an anonymous couple.

Donald Rockstrom, dba DWR Farm, also gave $500, as did Timothy and Jackie Randall, of Cheney.

An anonymous donor from Spokane gave $400.

An anonymous Spokane couple gave $300 and wrote: “Spokane is the greatest community with a generous heart.”

Roselie and Carl Rantzow, of Newman Lake, gave $270.

Cousins Aiden Kennedy, 2, and Lillian Kennedy, 7, gave $250, an amount that started with the $10 they each received from their pastor to use to “do something good.” The cousins challenged their family and friends to match their $10, and they decided to help the Christmas Fund so other kids could receive toys and books.

Phillip, Sally, Lesley, Katie, Madison, Erin E., Melissa, Erin T. and Shadow at Empire Dance Shop, of Spokane, donated $250 instead of sending Christmas cards to their customers. Jill and Tom Kuhn, of Spokane, gave $250 in memory of Rowena Nessly. An anonymous couple from Newman Lake also gave $250.

Hailey Poutiatine, 11, gave $249.25 via PayPal, combining allowance money and the money she raised at her annual Christmas Eve concert.

Gary and Christine Leva, of Spokane, gave $242.45 via PayPal. “We are triple B – blessed beyond belief,” they wrote. “A great job to everyone to help those in need.”

Spokane residents who gave $200: David and Joan Kingrey; Craig Thielman, in memory of Vince Tayon; Carolyn and James Craven; Elwood and Dorothy Powers; and an anonymous donor.

Giving $193.90 each via PayPal: Karen Schlosser; Kathleen George; and Kathryn McKinley.

Bill and Julie McElroy, of Spokane, sent $150 and a note: “Thanks to the Cowles family for the Christmas Bureau and their many contributions to our community.”

Spokane residents who gave $100: five separate anonymous couples; Greg and Monica Dunn; James Bankston; Sue DeFoe, in memory of her husband, Dave, “who contributed annually”; James Clanton; Donald Tuttle; the Fulgaro family – Anthony, Patricia, Nicholas, Faith and Jasper; an anonymous donor; Kathryn Barbieri; Steve and Theresa Helmbrecht; Francene Onzay; and Beverly Miner, in memory of Edna Gump, “who was a loyal contributor.”

Boehm’s Chocolates & Flowers, of Spokane, also gave $100, as did the Mediation Center of Spokane.

Jaynie Hansen, of Spokane Valley, gave $100. Elmo and Mariam Bartlett, of Cheney, gave $100 in honor of their granddaughters Becky and Cindy. Suzanne Thompson, of Liberty Lake, gave $100 “in honor of my parents, Chuck and Janet Hafner, who give so much to others!”

Giving $96.80 each via PayPal: Robert Lemoine; Laurel Powell; Shelley Froehlich; Mary Ann Catchpole; Joe Schmitz, who wrote, “Hope this small amount helps someone in a big way”; and Jennifer Goodfellow.

An anonymous couple from Spokane gave $80.

Mike Yake, of Spokane, gave $75.

John Miller and Sandy Nolting, of Spokane, gave $60 in memory of their parents.

Spokane residents who gave $50: Joan Guerin, in honor of her “wonderful neighbors who help me with snow and leaves and friendship”; Lee and Julie Fish, in memory of their parents; Monica and Eddy Nagashima; Lisa and James Northcott; Carol Sheridan; two separate anonymous couples; Bob and Lucy Kumpon, in memory of their granddaughter MacKenzie Watson; Raland and Cynthia John; and Bill and Karen Morse, in memory of Kazbria Morse.

June and John Sine, of Spokane Valley, gave $50 “in thanksgiving for our grandchildren: Riley, Brock, Bryndon, Olivia, Thomas, Braxton, Jyoti, Sophia and Jonathan.” Robert Elder, of Spokane Valley, gave $50.

Also giving $50: an anonymous couple from Mead, who wrote: “Merry Christmas, Dad!”; an anonymous donor; Deb Walter, of Spokane, in her second donation of the year; Jean Peterson, of Greenacres; and George and Michelene Weisbarth, of Newport.

Susan Persyn, of Priest River, Idaho, gave $40 “in memory of Auzzie Watson, who would have been 40 this year. He was such a generous child and surely he would be sharing with others still.” The Millers, of Spokane, gave $40 in memory of Hubert Ritter.

Nathan Empsall gave $33.68 via PayPal.

Thelma Ostby, of Chattaroy, gave $30 in honor of her sister Gladys Gossett and brother John Handegard.

Spokane residents who gave $25: Barbara Thiefault; and Ruth and Mackay Miller. Pollyanna Gormsen, of Spokane Valley, also gave $25.

An anonymous donor from Liberty Lake gave $20.

Nikolaus Krause gave $19.12 via PayPal.

An anonymous donor who previously sent $13 sent another $20.

Ervin Jantz, of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, gave $10.

Tara Snider gave $9.41 via PayPal.

A total of $8 was subtracted from the Christmas Fund to account for a check returned for nonsufficient funds and accompanying bank fee.