Each month when Carol Kriegh’s book club gets together, they don’t just talk about their latest read or eat food that matches the book’s mood. They also pool money to help low-income children go on literary adventures.
It’s a new tradition Kriegh proposed to the Cheney-based club after working the book tables at last year’s Christmas Bureau, a community-funded charity event that distributes toys, books and food vouchers to almost 10,000 needy families.
“It was just so neat being a part of that book giveaway,” Kriegh said. “I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, we can add to that. How about if everybody puts in a dollar a month and look what we could do by next Christmas?’ ”
The women heartily agreed.
Over the year they met to talk about books like “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple and “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult, often over food that fit the book’s mood and story line, each time bringing a buck for the bureau.
“We wound up with $100,” Kriegh said.
That’s enough to buy 30 board books for babies plus 25 books for kids. The bureau, which is organized by Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America and The Spokesman-Review, receives donated books from Scholastic Inc. as well as discount rates from the local Scholastic warehouse, enabling it to stretch those book dollars a long way.
At the bureau, parents can pick one book for each child through age 14 and a toy or gift for children up to 17. Each household also receives a food voucher for $15 to $30, depending on family size.
For Kriegh and her book club, donating to the charity was a great way to share their love of reading.
“I think books are treasures. It isn’t just a one-time gift. It’s a gift that you truly open over and over,” she said, noting that giving a little every month made it easy. “If everybody gave a little bit there would be plenty. That’s true throughout the world, not just about books or Christmas. If everybody did a little bit, it’s easy to take care of each other.”
For the Christmas Bureau to meet its $525,000 goal and fund the books, toys and gifts that will be distributed Dec. 11-20, it takes a lot of donations from individuals, companies, families, trusts and community groups like Kriegh’s book club. Other donations received last weekend include the following:
Teck American Inc. and its employees donated $10,000, giving the fund an early boost. “Once again it is the time for us all to open our hearts and open a bit our wallets to those in our community whose needs are greater than our own,” they wrote. “As Washington Irving said, ‘Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.’ Merry Christmas to all!”
Kristianne and John Blake, of Spokane, gave $2,500.
The I.S. and Emily Feherman Foundation donated $1,000.
The Guy and Ruth Reed memorial fund sent $935.
Shannon and Scott Sevigny, of Spokane, gave $800.
Bill and Mabel McInerney, of Priest Lake, Idaho, gave $750.
The Sons of Norway Ladies Auxiliary, of Spokane, donated $600. Though the Tordenskjold Lodge 2-005 Ladies Auxiliary disbanded, they designated a portion of their funds to be disbursed over the next five years. “Hopefully this will help provide less fortunate families in our community some food baskets or gifts for this Christmas,” they wrote.
An anonymous Spokane donor gave $500.
Another anonymous Spokane donor gave $400 in memory of Bob, Keith, Tena and John.
Orval and Anita Janssen, of Spokane, gave $300.
Frances Waddell, of Spokane, gave $260, writing, “Once again I have set aside money each month so I am able to donate to the Christmas Fund. God bless you for all the good you do and the help you give to those who need it.”
Karen Woodworth, of Sioux Falls, S.D., gave $250.
Catherine and John Caskey, of Spokane, gave $250 in memory of Chester Caskey and Ray Hughes.
William and Deborah Pierce, of Spokane, gave $200, as did Harold and Ruth Bates, of Veradale.
Lois Richards, of Spokane, gave $150.
Ruby McNeill gave $100, as did Cheryl and Pat Pritchard, all of Spokane.
Joseph Toombs, of Spokane Valley, gave $100 in memory of Lois Toombs.
Spokane donors giving $50 were James and Janet Jarrell; J.L. Koons; and Bill, Karen and Spencer Morse, who gave in loving memory of Kazbrai Morse. “We will always support what a great cause,” they wrote.
Scott Rasmussen, of Spokane, also gave $50, through Inland Empire Paper Co. In efforts to advocate a drug- and alcohol-free workplace, the company has a testing program with employee names drawn randomly each month. Each employee selected for screening can direct $50 to the charity of their choice, and Rasmussen chose the Christmas Bureau.
Tracy Howe, of Spokane, gave $30, writing, “I hope this helps!”
Helen Hanshaw, of Spokane, gave $25. “When my children were little this $25 would of gone a long way,” she wrote. “But I’m sure it will still help today.”
Gertrude and Jerry Wolverton, of Spokane, also gave $25, as did Sharon Boyer, of Spokane Valley. “Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to a wonderful cause,” Boyer wrote. “The Christmas Bureau is a blessing.”