Planning for the Christmas Bureau happens all year, as toy buyers put in their hefty orders early and book buyers hunt for bargains.
The bulk of donations to the Christmas Fund, which pays the bills at the annual charity that distributes gifts to people in need, are usually received between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, when the fund officially closes for the year. But some giving happens all year.
Donations that trickled in through the year gave the Christmas Fund an early boost toward its $525,000 goal, which is higher than last year’s goal of $500,000.
That’s because need is even greater, organizers said.
“I’ve never seen times like this,” Rob McCann, executive director of Catholic Charities of Spokane, told volunteers at a meeting earlier this month.
Because of the stressed economy, “poverty is reaching further and further into new populations,” he said.
Last year the bureau served 35,612 people.
The Christmas Bureau, organized by Catholic Charities and the Volunteers of America in conjunction with The Spokesman-Review, distributes toys, books and grocery vouchers to adults and children.
Among the early gifts, totaling $15,690.46:
Premera Blue Cross donated $5,000.
Leisure Concepts also gave $5,000.
Carolyn Clark, of Spokane, gave $1,991.71.
The Clarence Colby Memorial Fund gave $1,009.85.
John and Marlene Connolly, of Spokane, gave $500. They sent a note: “Thanks to the ‘Charity Geraghty sisters,’ ” Sheila Geraghty and Brigid Krause.
An anonymous donor from Spokane gave $300.
Carol Haugen, of Spokane, gave $250. Frederic Emry, of Spokane, also gave $250.
Tina McElligott donated $245 via PayPal.
The Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute gave $200. “The students of Mukogawa would like to express their gratitude to the Spokane community for providing them with valuable experiences of learning about American culture,” read an accompanying note. Sharon Arnold, of Deer Park, also gave $200.
Derek Freeman donated $193.90 via PayPal.
An anonymous donor from Spokane gave $150.
Giving $100: Bob and Amy Lutz, of Spokane; Elaine Myers, of Spokane; and Rhonda Krauss, of Spokane.
Erlinda Fry, of Spokane, gave $50. Ted and Louise Otto, of Cheney, also gave $50.