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Christmas Bureau: Nine day run ends today

At the annual Christmas Bureau, Bob and Kathy Duft, shown Wednesday at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, have taken over the coffee service for volunteers. (Jesse Tinsley)
At the annual Christmas Bureau, Bob and Kathy Duft, shown Wednesday at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, have taken over the coffee service for volunteers. (Jesse Tinsley)

Whether or not the weather outside is frightful, the coffee at the Christmas Bureau is delightful, warm and served with a smile.

For the nine-day run of the bureau, which ends today, Kathy and Bob Duft keep the coffee brewing for both recipients and volunteers.

“They are like manna from heaven,” said Ann Marie Byrd, Catholic Charities development director.

Funded by reader donations, the bureau provides toys, books and food vouchers for needy families with the hope they’ll have happier holidays.

To date, the community has contributed almost 77 percent of the $525,000 needed by Christmas. The charity, which is organized by Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America and The Spokesman Review, uses about 96 percent of the money to buy books, toys and food vouchers, thanks in part to volunteers like the Dufts.

A retired logistics manager, Bob said the break room position matched his skills. He even made his own spreadsheet to track and manage their supplies so they have just the right amount, from the cases of coffee and creamer to the disposable tableware available for volunteer lunches, which are donated daily by Arby’s on East Sprague Avenue.

This year the Dufts said they’ve made about 350 cups of coffee each day. What’s moving, they said, is how grateful the recipients are when Bob carts the gallons of fresh coffee and water up to the recipient line.

Sometimes the waiting people offer him tips.

“Usually two or three people a day say, ‘You ought to have a tip cup out here,’ ” he said. Then he shook his head. “We are in the business of giving and not receiving. But they are really grateful to just have coffee and water.”

“That touches all of us,” Kathy Duft added. “To us, we aren’t doing much. To them it’s a big deal. … These are people in dire need of assistance.”

New donations

Moulton Financial Center, of Spokane, donated $5,000. “There is nothing like the look of wonder in a small child’s eyes at this time of year. So in honor of our wonderful clients, and in memory of those lost in the tragic Connecticut shooting, everyone at Moulton Financial Center hopes this small token of our gratitude for all God’s gifts helps others enjoy the holidays,” wrote Rial and Don Moulton. “Please hug the little ones extra tight.”

An anonymous Hayden donor sent two checks totaling $1,220.

N.W. Dent Inc., of Veradale, gave $1,000.

An anonymous Spokane donor sent two checks totaling $800.

Sylvia Oliver, of Spokane, gave $500 in memory of Mark and Ruth Adams.

Mark and Valerie Sonderen, of Spokane, gave $500. “Thank you for the opportunity to help provide wonderful Christmas memories to families of our community,” they wrote. “Thank you to all the volunteers who give their time, energy and love.”

Rebekka and Bruce Higgins, of Spokane, gave $500 in memory of Hazel Cooley-McCarty.

Spokane Public Schools Leadership Group sent four checks totaling $500. “Thank you so much for this opportunity to help our students,” they wrote.

Michael Harrell, of Spokane Valley, gave $485.20.

The McBurney-Gardd family, of Spokane, gave $462.

Daniel Stowe and an anonymous Spokane donor each gave $250.

Neal and JoAnn Skaufel and family gave $230.

Roy and Helen Jeremiah, of Spokane, gave $225. “Given in gratitude for all the blessings in life,” they wrote.

An anonymous Cheney donor gave $200, as did an anonymous Millwood donor.

James and Leonette Hiller, of Spokane, gave $200, as did an anonymous donor.

J. Robin Messinger gave $200 in honor of Mac McCaffree, Lori Smetana, Steve Richards and Jody Hechtman.

Vicki and Gary Erickson, of Medical Lake, gave $150, as did an anonymous Spokane donor and Brian and Ruth Sullivan.

The waitresses at the Iron Skillet gave $120.

The Williams family, of Spokane, gave $106.51 “to help with Christmas.”

Mike and Norma Sullivan, of Colbert, gave $100. “Thank you for the wonderful work you do to help others have a joyous Christmas,” they wrote.

Gary and Denise Copenhaver, of Liberty Lake, gave $100. “Thank you for all that you all do for our community,” they wrote.

An anonymous donor gave $100 in memory of June.

Robert Witte gave $100 in memory of William E. Witte.

Spokane donors giving $100 were Kirk Bierwagen, Noreen and Eugene Sivertson, R.A. and Zella Norotney, Noble and Judith Hundley, Charles and Terry George, Larry Luton and Susan Hales, Karen and John Hedrick, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Leyde, two anonymous donors and G. Harvey and Diane Morrison, who gave “to honor the memory of the 20 young children killed in Newtown, Conn. May they rest in peace.”

Dean and Liz Grafos, of Spokane Valley, gave $100.

Joan Cooper, of Spokane Valley, gave $96.80.

Jeff and Christine Stevens, of Spokane, gave $75.

Ruth Votava, of Spokane, gave $60.

Mr. and Mrs. Ervin Jantz, of Bonners Ferry, gave $50, as did Gordon and Terri Radford, of Coeur d’Alene.

Spokane donors giving $50 were Marion Moos, Ronald and Connie Hedrick, Blanche Lueck, Lyle and Rosalie Laeck, an anonymous donor, and George and Colleen Mooney, who wrote, “Thank you for managing such a heartfelt program which provides a vehicle for us to support those in need. We are truly blessed to live in a community with such generosity and concern for residents.”

Bruck and Nancy Wenderburg gave $50 on behalf of Jim and Torna Weir.

Norma MacArthur, of Poulsbo, gave $48.25 in memory of the Mellick family.

Jan Knapp, of Oldtown, Idaho, gave $36 “in memory of my daughter, Dawn Hunt … . She would have turned 36 this past year. Wishing all of you and your children a Merry Christmas and God Bless.”

Todd and Barbara Heaton, of Lincoln, Wash., gave $25, as did Keith and Cynthia Bly, of Otis Orchards.

Ruth Miller and Lila Whitney, both of Spokane, each gave $25.

King and Yvonne Yim, of Spokane Valley, gave $20, writing, “May God bless our neighbors in Spokane.”

Helen McCune, of Spokane, gave $10.