The Christmas Fund made its goal – and then, for good measure, Spokane-area residents gave a little more.
The fund’s final tally for 2011: $531,237.54. Organizers set a goal of raising $525,000 to serve the community’s needy over the Christmas season.
A $15,000 gift from the Klaue Family Foundation gave the fund a big boost just when it needed it.
The fund – a collection of gifts of all sizes from newspaper readers – pays the bills for the Christmas Bureau, a 10-day event at the Spokane County fairgrounds that distributes toys, books and grocery vouchers to families in need.
This year the Christmas Bureau served 35,561 people, including 17,321 children, who lived in 11,175 households.
There’s no residency requirement to receive help at the bureau, but the vast majority of those served provided Inland Northwest ZIP codes.
And most of those families came from Spokane and surrounding communities, although one family was from Hallendale, Fla., and another provided an address in Fairfield, Calif.
Seventy-six households served were in North Idaho, including 40 from Post Falls or Hauser.
One hundred forty-three families came from Airway Heights, and 158 came from Cheney. Another 142 households served were in Deer Park, and 78 families were from Mead. Others came from communities scattered across the state, although most were in Eastern or Central Washington.
The Klaue Family Foundation gave $15,000.
This year “has proven to be a very challenging year for many, to include but not be limited to many businesses, families, benefactors and beneficiaries alike,” David Klaue wrote. “This global recession knows no bounds. We are very thankful we are able to continue to contribute.”
Patrick and Kelley Rusnak, of Spokane, gave $1,000.
McClintock & Turk, Mechanical Contractors & Design Build, of Spokane, gave $1,000.
Vickerman & Driscoll Financial Advisers gave $1,000.
And Dupree Building Specialties, of Spokane, also gave $1,000. “We hope this helps the Christmas Bureau and its volunteers assist those in our community that find it difficult to make ends meet during these challenging times,” Vice President Dave Barber wrote.
The McBurny-Gadd family, of Spokane, gave $737.
Anonymous donors from Spokane Valley gave $700.
The students and staff at Chase Middle School gave $529.60, money raised through the sale of “candy grams.” Wrote counselor Kitty Hennessey: “This tradition was born out of the firm belief that middle school students, sometimes more so than at any other age, truly understand the concept that each person needs to feel cared for and know that they are special.”
An anonymous donor from Spokane gave $522.
Spokane residents who gave $500: James and Salli Sledge; the Swanson family; and two separate anonymous donors.
Betty Carroll, of Spokane, gave $300. “This is in memory of all our family who are missing from our lives,” she wrote. “And it’s especially a ‘thank you’ to my sons Alfred and Clarence Hansen for helping me so much all year long.” Harry and Joanna Kiewert, of Deer Park, also gave $300, as did the family of Norma Kinney, in her memory.
An anonymous donor from Mead gave $250.
Anne and Jess Walter, of Spokane, gave $200. “We make this donation for those who have little, in memory of those who brought so much to our lives, especially Larry Nickell and Carol Walter,” they wrote. The Bindler family also gave $200, as did Christine Gamble.
Hailey Poutiatine, of Spokane Valley, gave $192.25 – allowance savings plus money raised at the 12-year-old’s annual Christmas concert. “It was well worth learning complicated Christmas carols on my guitar, and I’m glad it will be put to such good use,” she wrote.
Donors who gave $150: anonymous donors from Odessa, Wash.; another anonymous donor, “in loving memory of Anna May and Everett Lucky”; and Jill and Brian Vrablick, of Spokane.
Bob G. gave $142.
Spokane residents who gave $100: Donna Jean Sather, of Spokane, in memory of her husband, Arthur Sather; Elizabeth Hitch; Matthew Lyons, “in memory of Patricia ‘Pat’ Martin and her love of this community”; Bob and Amy Lutz; Sharyll and Larry Messinger; Alan, Heidi, Tim and Evan Shustoff; and Carol and Allen Gauper.
Others in Spokane who gave $100: H. Douglas Spruance III; an anonymous donor; Bryan D. Anderson Family Dentistry; and Boehm’s Chocolates & Flowers. Dennis, Donna and Blair Kelly, of Spokane, gave $100 in honor of Don Kelly, a longtime Christmas Bureau volunteer. And an anonymous couple from Spokane gave $100 and wrote a note thanking volunteers and others “who devote their time and energy to bring extra happiness to the families in the community at Christmastime.”
More $100 gifts came from: two separate anonymous donors; Shirley and James Pugh, of Coeur d’Alene; and George and Michelene Weisbarth, of Newport, Wash.
Dianne Bongarts, of Spokane, gave $75.
The “Monday walking group” from the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department gave $65.
Spokane residents who gave $50: Monica and Eddy Nagashima; Mike Yake; John Miller and Sandra Nolting; and Erlinda Fry.
William and Donna Stewart gave $50 in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Olson. Larry and Laura Isaak, of Loon Lake, Wash., also gave $50, as did Mark Johnson, of Nine Mile Falls.
Susan Watson Persyn, of Priest River, Idaho, gave $41 “in memory of my son Auzzie, who would have been 41 this year. He was a giving child. I’m sure he would give so others would be blessed.”
Patricia Gunderson, of Spokane, gave $25 in memory of Michal V. McGee. Bev and Ken Stam also gave $25, as did Wayne and Lynn Leonard, of Spokane.
An anonymous donor gave $20. Three more, separate, anonymous donors also gave $20: one in memory of Carol Walter; one from Liberty Lake; and one from Cheney.
Glenn Gannon, of Spokane Valley, gave $10. An anonymous donor from Spokane also gave $10.
The fund’s final total reflects a downward adjustment of $1,401.74 from tallies reported previously as a result of a clerical error.
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