Anita Lamp, 75, has been a Christmas Bureau volunteer for 17 years.
Even after her husband died last November, she showed up to help when the bureau opened in December.
“The days I was there were bright spots for me in a month that was pretty unhappy,” she said. “It’s just such a wonderful organization”
The bureau aims to help everyone in the region have a merrier Christmas by providing grocery store gift certificates, new toys and books to thousands of low-income individuals and families.
For Lamp, serving the community is an important part of who she is.
“You need to see what needs to be done and then help to do something about it,” she said. “It’s a privilege to be able to help people at any time of the year, but especially at Christmas time.”
Lamp, who also volunteers each week at St. Margaret’s Shelter, was recently honored as Catholic Charities Spokane Volunteer of the Year.
Year after year, it takes the time and dedication of hundreds of volunteers like Lamp to make the bureau happen.
However, the bureau depends not only on the gift of time, but on the gift of treasure, as well, and now that the bureau has closed its doors for the season, treasure is needed most of all.
Money donated by members of the community to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund pays for the bureau, which is organized by Catholic Charities Spokane and Volunteers of America.
This year, organizers need to raise $525,000 to pay the bills and start shopping for next year’s bureau to get the best deals on toys and books. But they still have a long way to go to make that goal, and Christmas Day is quickly approaching.
As of today’s reported totals, the fund stands at $418,708.63, leaving $106,291.37 left to go.
Nancy Evans and Greg McDonald, of Spokane, gave $1,000, writing, “Enclosed please find our Christmas donation of $1,000 in support of the services you provide to the disadvantaged adults and children in the Spokane area during the Christmas season. We wish you success in reaching your goal and thank you for the kindness you show to those who need it most.”
Wendy Perry, of Medical Lake, gave $500, writing, “I won this gift in a prior drawing, ‘Friends for Children,’ and want to regift it to your fund for those less fortunate. God bless you and yours during this magical season.”
Kurt and Regeena Fine and family gave $500 via PayPal, writing, “We are blessed to be able to help those that are not as fortunate as ourselves.”
Jim and Sally Sledge gave $500, as did Reamer Family Dentistry. Commellini Estate gave $500 via PayPal.
Michael and Linda Geraghty gave $300.
Joan Reuthinger, of Spokane, and Larry Reuthinger, of Deer Park, gave $300, writing, “In memory of our parents, Joe and Mary Reuthinger; Larry’s wife, Linnea Reuthinger and her mother, Eleanor Peterson.”
The Shustoff Family – Alan, Heidi, Tim and Evan, of Spokane – gave $250. Kevin Gilmore also gave $250 via PayPal.
Harold Bates, of Veradale, gave $200. Kimberly and Robert Coltrin, of Spokane, also gave $200.
An anonymous donor gave $150.
Laverne Linder, of Spokane, gave $101.
The following donors gave $100: Robert Harris, of Spokane Valley; Edward and Ethel Fisk, of Spokane Valley; Irma and Muriel Cleveland, of Spokane; Dalene and James Boone, of Spokane; Margaret Dingle, of Spokane; Brian Hirschkorn, via PayPal; Soroptimist International of Spokane; and an anonymous donor.
J.A. and J.M. Hensley, of Spokane, also gave $100, writing, “Blessings to all,” and Larry Snider, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of Ray and Lois Snider.
The StuClan Family – David, Debra, Darick, Victoria, Brittany, James, Patricia, Alexander, Carl and Joseph, of Airway Heights – gave $50, writing, “I am proud to be able to enclose a check to support the Christmas Fund again this year. This has become a tradition for the family and is well worth the support. We see the great value in this program as it does touch so many. Please keep up the fabulous work that is being done.”
The following donors gave $50 each: Heather Greenberg, via PayPal; Cyndi Tobais, via PayPal; Susan Wotring, via PayPal; Jennifer Stucker, via PayPal; Jennifer Kirkpatrick; and an anonymous donor.
An anonymous donor gave $35.