At Christmastime, holiday cheer isn’t always easy to feel or find, especially for families who struggle to put gifts under the tree for their children, or families who face the season without a loved one who has died.
Yet each week some bereaved readers create holiday cheer for less-fortunate families by donating to the Christmas Bureau in memory of much-missed spouses, parents, children, extended family or friends.
This year, for example, Pullman resident Matthew Root continued a holiday tradition he had with his wife, Sarah Moore, when he made a donation in her memory. Moore died Aug. 27, after a nine-month battle with cancer and a lifetime of volunteerism and giving.
“Sarah volunteered at many things in our community and especially things that benefited children,” he said, describing how she lent her time, energy and horticultural and artistic abilities to the library, public radio and community gardens, among other charitable causes.
“She was a multifaceted person and underestimated her own skills and talents. She always thought she wasn’t doing enough with her life, and it drove her to do more,” he said, adding that his wife was humble about her community involvement, which began in high school when she volunteered with the Methodist Youth Fellowship in Albion, Mich.
“She was never one to call attention to herself,” he said, recalling that many people didn’t realize how much Moore volunteered until after she died. “They only knew what she did in their little circle. They hadn’t realized she’d done so much.”
As one of many philanthropic activities, the couple donated yearly to the Christmas Bureau, which provides toys, books and food vouchers for about 35,000 needy people in this community.
“We enjoyed a modest amount of success, and we needed to share that success with the community,” explained Root. “We’ve always felt that we should share our success with those who may be in a little bit of need right now. … She would certainly want me to continue our donations to the community and the work with children.”
Judy Camp, of Spokane, gave $2,000. “I just love children. That’s why I donate,” she said.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $1,500: “We hope this donation will help in making a better holiday for those in need.”
Matthew Root, of Pullman, donated $1,000 in memory of “my dear wife, Sarah Moore. She was a community volunteer, always helping others. Thank you for also helping others during the holidays.”
An anonymous donor sent $600.
Orval and Anita Janssen, of Spokane, and Jan Darc, of Coeur d’Alene, each gave $300.
Richard Morris, of Spokane Valley; Joyce Stefanoff, of Spokane; and Mr. and Mrs. Ronald McCloskey, of Colbert, each gave $200.
The Colbert Quilt Charmers gave $200. This group of about 40 quilters meets weekly to quilt and socialize, with 70 to 100 of their quilts donated annually to charities. At the end of the year, they also donate excess dues to charity, such as their Christmas Bureau donation this year. “It’s a very nice group of women who give of their time,” said Terry Engleman. “We want to be able to give back to the community, and we’re a group that is able to do that.”
Ralph and Catherine Coston, of Spokane, gave $150.
Shirley Schatz, of Spokane, gave $120 in memory of her husband, Gene, and daughter Karen Schatz Dunning. “Thank you to all whose goodness and generosity helps their fellow man,” she wrote.
Al and Vicki Falkner, of Spokane, gave $100.
Two anonymous donors, one of Deer Park and one of Spokane Valley, each sent $100.
John and Charlotte Sullivan, of Honolulu; and David and Beverly Hayes, of Nine Mile Falls, each sent $100.
Harold Wilson, of Spokane, gave $100, writing “a small token to help others.”
John and Dolores Skelton, Karen Graham, Mr. and Mrs. A.R. MacKay, and Eric and Marian Anderson, all of Spokane, each gave $100.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $100.
Bob G. and Bill W. gave $100.
A “Mom,” from Spokane Valley, gave $80 in memory of Greg Sworde.
Ronald and Cindy Loomis, of Colbert, gave $70.
Greg and Sue Borg, of Spokane, gave $50. “We are giving this in loving memory of our parents, Jim and Louise Borg. It was all about the little ones for them, and they would be pleased to know that there were children with Santa surprises because of them,” they wrote.
Two anonymous donors, one of Spangle, each sent $50.
Ted and Louise Otto, of Cheney, and Hakala and Berro, of Spokane, each gave $50.
Cynthia, Kyle and Kaitlyn, of Greenacres, gave $50. “Thank you for all that you do to make Christmas special for families and their children,” they wrote.
An anonymous donor gave $50 writing, “I wish you a Merry Christmas and believe in what you do!”
Beatrice Scheele, of Spokane, gave $40.
John and Alicia Arn, of Colbert, donated $30.
Ed and Pauline Carlson and Lori Massey; and Sheri Barnard and J. Kimball, of Spokane, gave $25.
William and Gelene Griffiths, of Nine Mile Falls, gave $25.
James Teague, of Medical Lake, sent $22.87
One anonymous donor gave $20, and another gave $10.