Today, like Christmas bells, children’s voices ring. Their “thank you’s” echo from house to house, resonating in the hearts of thousands of parents who had a simple wish: to give their children a Christmas gift.
Continuing a 67-year community tradition, Christmas Bureau donors and volunteers helped make holiday magic for the 32,060 people served by the bureau this year – 16,124 of them children.
To date, the charity has raised 97.85 percent of its $525,000 goal, the amount needed to fund the books, gifts and food vouchers distributed this year to less fortunate families in our community.
This morning, 1-year-old Adalyn, a “red-headed firecracker” according to her mom, will receive an airplane with people, so she can load and unload it over and over; then fly it around the room. Her sister Cailin is a girly-girl, so she is getting a princess castle that matches her personality. Their brother, Evan, 6, spends as much time outdoors as he can and may already be outside practicing tricks on his new scooter.
In another home, 5-year-old Peyton is probably petting and hugging a plush puppy, a soft reminder of the real dog he loved but had to leave.
An 18-month-old tot named Kingston is likely riding around his living room on a little firetruck while his sister Karma, 11, waits for the sunset so she can count constellations through her telescope.
When Trista, 7, opens the book “Miss Daisy is Crazy” she’ll probably smile over the silliness of a second-grade teacher who can’t read or write. Her sister Tonya, 9, will also likely laugh when she reads her new Junie B. Jones book while their brother Travis, 13, gets engrossed in more serious literature, an empowering novel about a teenage basketball player in Harlem.
The possibilities for amusement are endless on a day like Christmas, when hope turns to happiness and daily struggles fade into a few hours of family fun.
These moments will turn into many Merry Christmas memories, thanks in part to the donors and volunteers who give generously to the Christmas Bureau.
The Christmas Bureau is $11,267 away from its $525,000 goal, with donations accepted through noon on Thursday.
Acme Concrete Paving, of Spokane, donated $5,000.
An anonymous Spokane donor gave $5,000. “I am thankful for my blessings. Family, friends and health. This is my wish for all,” a note said.
The owners and employees of Huppin’s and their online division, OneCall, gave 19 checks totaling $4,330. “Thank you to the Spokesman-Review for providing this special fund which brings our community together – both to give and to receive,” they wrote. “Each year, our team looks forward to this opportunity to participate.”
The employees, management and owners of Rings & Things gave $3,000. “We are reminded daily that too many people in our community do not have an adequate income, affordable health care or decent housing,” they wrote. “We hope that our contribution will help the Christmas Bureau to make this a holiday filled with sharing and joy for more of our neighbors in Spokane.”
McClintock and Turk Inc. donated $1,000. “It is a pleasure to be able to donate to a fund that puts 100 percent back into the hands of the needy at Christmas time. Thank you for your efforts and goodwill,” they wrote.
David and Melody Coombs gave $1,000.
Regeena Fine, of Spokane, gave $970.70.
Roberto Seghetti, of Spokane, gave $800.
Diane and Einar Larson, of Almira, gave $520.
Jim and Sally Sledge, of Spokane, gave $500, as did two anonymous donors, one who wrote, “Instead of buying gifts for our family, we count our blessings and are thankful we are able to help someone else.”
The Stanton Family, of Tum Tum, gave $485.20 “in memory of our mother, grandmother, GG, and great GG, Catherine Dellinger.”
An anonymous Spokane donor gave $400 in the memory of the 20 children killed in Newton, Conn.
Richard and Connie Stacey Donor-Advised Fund gave $400.
Patricia Morales gave $300, as did an anonymous donor from Friday Harbor, Wash.
Rob and Laurie Sargent and Rob Sargent Masonry gave $300. “We are very happy to be able to help out this season. Our thanks to the bureau and all of the volunteers,” they wrote.
Robert and Marian Cummings, of Spokane, gave $250.
An anonymous Spokane donor gave $250 “to help those in need.”
“Christian,” of Spokane, gave $250 in memory of loving grandparents Mark and Allene Hollenback, and in honor of brother Mark. “Thank you for facilitating such a worthwhile cause and Christmas blessings to all!”
Other Spokane donors giving $250 were Rick and Diane Thomas, Commellini Real Estate, Chimney Rock Mortgage LLC, an anonymous donor, and the owners and employees of The Reclothery, who wrote “in the spirit of giving and sharing at Christmas time, we wish to make this contribution in loving memory of our friend, Rebecca Scherring.”
Ron Soliday, of Reardan, Wash., gave $242.45.
Nan Kelly, of Reseda, Calif., gave $200, $100 of that in honor of her mother Ann Lloyd. “Like me, she was born and raised in Spokane. She went to North Central, just like I did,” she wrote. “I think of my hometown often and always make it back here for the holidays and want to help other families have a Merry Christmas.”
The other $100 she gave was in honor of Richard and Betty Kelly, longtime Spokane residents. “Richard was in the USAF, now retired and his wife, Betty, a wonderful mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who is always thinking of others,” she wrote.
A Spokane Valley donor gave $200, with “$100 in the name or Ardith Divine and $100 in the name of Duke and Sue Cornell.”
Tom and Nancy Nelson, of Colbert, gave $150.
Roger Jacky, of Deer Park, gave $150 in memory of his brothers, “Huncha Time” Bob and “Get Some” Jerry. They loved Christmas and the music.
Sarah Wasicek, of Spokane, gave $150 in memory of Franck Wasicek Jr., her “much loved husband,” and Wendy Sue Weaver, “a dear friend gone too soon.”
Pete Powell, Chris Powell and Ruth Reynolds, of Spokane, gave $150 in memory of Hazel Powell and Bill and Elaine Reynolds.
Administrative Supervisors at Providence Holy Family gave $125.
An anonymous Davenport donor gave $100, as did an anonymous donor from Eugene.
Joe and Mary Cannon, of Nine Mile Falls, gave $100, as did Michael and Patricia Hostetter.
Boehm’s Chocolates and Flowers, of Spokane, gave $100.
Malachi Riedl and family gave $100 in memory of their beagles Titus and Buddy, who died in a house fire on Christmas Eve day 2008.
An anonymous donor gave $100 “in loving memory of Archie and Bumpy. Missed deeply, especially this time of year.”
Other Spokane donors giving $100 were Steven and Elizabeth Hitch, Linda and Ed Sharman Family Fund, John Miller and Sandra Nolting, Corliss Newman and John Bodinger, Glen and Barbara Shaw, Gerald and Geraldine Rein, Kailey and Kade Minderman, four anonymous donors, and The Meditation Center of Spokane.
Bob and LeeAnn Hanke, of Spokane Valley, gave $100.
Lois Hunter, of Spokane Valley, gave $100, as did Rocky and Nora Seelbach.
Dale Soden, of Spokane, gave $96.80.
Jessi Zumbro gave $80.
Mike Prager, of Spokane, gave $50, as did Mrs. C. R. Hix, Debra Watts, Raymond and Judy Emerson, James and Willa McAllister, and “Scott and Debbie.”
Alan Hastings, of Spokane Valley, gave $50, as did David and Rosanne Whitney.
John Stanton, of Tum Tum, gave $48.25.
Cathleen and Jeffery Walter, of Otis Orchards, gave $37.
An anonymous Spokane donor gave $35.
Barbara Jewell-Potter, of Spokane Valley, gave $28.83 in loving memory of Ricky and Timothy Houpt, Ann Potter, and Bill and Verna Jewell.
An anonymous Cheney donor gave $25, as did Wayne and Callie Ward.
Melvin Pryor, of Spokane, gave $25, as did an anonymous Spokane Valley donor.
Hope and Keylie, of Colville, gave $20.
“BMZ”, of Spokane, gave $20, writing, “instead of asking for a present this year, my dad asked me to donate to the Christmas fund. His selflessness always inspires me and I’m glad to call him my father. I love you Dad.”
An anonymous Spokane donor gave $15.
Edward P., of Moscow, gave $10 in memory of Harold, Hilda, and Roy P.