Christmas Bureau book a gift that keeps giving
As Lisa Davis opens a Mother Goose book of nursery rhymes to read to her grandson Gryphin Scott, she recalls reading the same book to her daughter.
“It’s got some damage to the spine from the dog chewing on it, but it’s one of those really precious books,” she said, noting that Gryphin’s favorite rhyme at the moment is “Three Blind Mice.”
The book has special meaning this time of year. It’s a gift she picked out at the Christmas Bureau as a struggling single mom, almost 16 years ago.
The Christmas Bureau gives Spokane’s needy families a brighter Christmas by distributing books, toys and food vouchers for $15 to $30.
Funded entirely by donations, the charity that this community has supported for 68 years is struggling to pull in enough funds to make sure almost 10,000 low-income households have hope for a happy holiday. Less than $70,000 of the $525,000 needed has come in so far.
For Davis, the bureau has been a blessing when times were tight.
“My income is disability and, needless to say, it doesn’t pay very well,” she said. “Some years I don’t have to use it, and I try to not use things if I don’t have to.”
Last year, she stood in line for a $15 grocery voucher so she could make Christmas dinner for her elderly dad, daughter and grandson. “It helps me put food on the table,” she said. “Christmas dinner is about all of us being in the same house, nothing super-extravagant, usually turkey or ham.”
Davis also volunteers at the bureau, wanting to give back to the charity in the only way she can.
“It’s about giving back. Even though they’re blessing me, I’d like to help,” she said. “They’re so happy to get whatever it is that they get. I understand where most of them are coming from. I know what it’s like to be without a job and money is tight. … It was a blessing to be able to volunteer last year. You go into it thinking you’ll be able to bless other people but you come out of it with a full heart.”
Davis said her heart is also full when she reads to Gryphin, who turns 2 in February. “I’m blessed I get to watch him a couple days a week,” she said. “My disability sucks but it’s given me blessings. I get to be with my grandchild.”
When she reads to Gryphin, Davis said, he repeats some of the words, his vocabulary growing daily.
“He shows a lot of interest in books, which is wonderful. I love to see how he’s progressing. He’s the smartest grandbaby on the planet,” she said with a laugh, describing how she lets him set the pace because if the active toddler isn’t ready he won’t sit still. “He’s go, go, go and when he’s ready to wind down, he brings books to me.”
This Christmas, Davis said if she uses the bureau she’ll probably buy a gift for Gryphin with the $15 voucher. Finances are tight after a drop in food stamps and extra dental expenses. But she knows whether or not she needs the help to give him a gift, she will empathize with the recipients when she’s volunteering.
“A lot of people want to tell you their story,” she said. “I try to remind them that God meets your needs. It’s awesome to see the people come in and they are so grateful.”
Cecil Nuxoll, of Spokane, gave $4,000 “in loving memory of all that have gone before us and in honor to those in need. God bless. Our love and best wishes.”
Walker’s Furniture and Mattress, of Spokane, gave $2,000 “in appreciation of our past and present loyal customers.”
“We are contributing to your Christmas fund in hopes of alleviating some of the hardship observed throughout our community,” Mark Walker wrote. “We are all blessed to live in a community that so readily helps those in need. This holiday season, let’s unite and spread hopefulness and joy by sharing, in one way or another, with those families who are less fortunate. I believe true fulfillment in life only comes as you help others.”
Vincent Rogers and Joyce Millerbernd, of Spokane, gave $500, writing, “One of the few I really trust to put the money where it belongs. Thank you so much for all of these years.”
Tek Manufacturing, of Spokane, gave $500.
Gunhild Clegg, of Spokane, gave $300, writing, “Once again, Christmas and the joy of giving comes to all of us. These memories bring joy for a lifetime, so I send my gift on in hopes that a child or a family will delight in the wonders of Christmas because someone ‘gave back’ or paid it forward.”
Denni and Patricia Doyle, of Spokane, gave $200 “to help make other families have a good Christmas.”
Other Spokane donors giving $200 include Jim and Julie Lehr; Frank and Patricia Goodman; Norman Genung; and Theresa and Steve Lamp, who wrote, “Good work helping the less fortunate.”
Lee Dominey, of Spokane, gave $150.
Corrine and Dalla Dixon, of Spokane, gave $125.
Shirley Schatz, of Spokane, gave $120 in memory of husband Gene and daughter Karen. “Because of the generosity of our community, many families will enjoy a blessed Christmas,” she wrote.
Larry Hutchinson, of Chattaroy, gave $100. “Thank you for all you do,” he wrote. “It is good to see a local charity where 96 cents of every dollar is actually used for the benefit of the people deserving. Happy holidays to all.”
Virginia Johnson, of Nine Mile Falls, gave $100. “In appreciation for your help in giving those in need at this time of year,” she wrote. “Thoughtfulness is always appreciated.”
Three anonymous Spokane donors gave $100, one “in loving memory of Charles Schemetzer.”
Other Spokane donors giving $100 include Roger Palmberg, Morris and Michael Slavens, Leslie and Emil Wunderle, and Delores Crabtree.
An anonymous Spokane donor gave $100, writing “Please accept this gift for helping others less fortunate than us in memory of both sets of our parents, Jack and Margaret Littlemore, and Lester and Inez Engstrom, and our son Jerry Littlemore Jr.”
David Bennett, of Spokane, also gave $100 on behalf of his mother, who died in December 2005. “She always enjoyed the Christmas holidays and I miss her deeply, not only every day but especially this time of year,” he wrote. “Keep up the good work in making someone’s holiday special.”
Elise and George Bozzo, of Veradale, gave $80.
Carol Phelps, of Spokane, gave $75.
Jay and Cheri Currier, of Tekoa, gave $60.
James Teague, of Medical Lake, gave $50, as did two anonymous Spokane donors, one in memory of John and Emma Peereboom.
Roger Moore, of Spokane, gave $50, writing “Thank you for all of your hard work to care for the less fortunate in our area. We thank god for all of our blessings and wish to help our neighbors.”
Diane Herman, of Spokane, gave $50 “in loving remembrance of Jeff Ward from his Aunt Diane.”
Dale and Nannette Gilbert, of Spokane Valley, gave $50.
Spokane donors Sheri and James Barnard, and Dave and Bernadine Rodseth, gave $25.
Linda Guiher, of Spokane Valley, gave $25.
Barbara Barthoumes, of Spokane, gave $15.