The vast majority of every dollar donated to the Christmas Fund goes directly to help individuals and families in need.
Each year, the fund pays for the Christmas Bureau, a charity program put on by two nonprofit organizations: Catholic Charities Spokane and Volunteers of America. It has served a vital role in the community since 1945, providing those less fortunate in the community with hope during the holidays.
It’s a massive mission that comes together each year only with the help of donors in the community.
Volunteers and in-kind donations help keep the operational costs of the bureau low – much lower than most other charities – meaning that donor dollars are maximized to serve the most people possible.
“We’re very proud of the fact that we keep our administrative cost extremely low,” said bureau organizer Judy Lee, with Catholic Charities Spokane. “It is primarily run by volunteers and with the help of in-kind donations, and we use the money to buy quality gifts and new books, and to be able to give out gift certificates.”
Rob McCann, president and CEO of Catholic Charities Spokane, estimates that more than 95 percent of every dollar donated goes directly toward providing those less fortunate with the food vouchers, toys and books, an almost unheard of amount when it comes to charities.
Other than the items they provide recipients, “there are just very few expenses,” he said.
The fund still has a ways to go to make the $525,000 needed to operate. That money will go toward paying the remaining bills from this year’s bureau, and also toward purchasing toys and books for children for the 2017 bureau.
Toy and book buyers will start shopping for next year’s bureau right after Christmas so they can make donations stretch farther by nabbing the best deals.
Each and every donation brings the fund close to the goal, and it’s not too late to give.
On Dec. 30, The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund will present the total amount collected to organizational leaders from Catholic Charities Spokane and Volunteers of America, and donations made this week will be added to the total. The final amount will be reported on New Year’s Day.
Although the fund is behind where it was at this time last year, McCann is confident the goal will be reached over the next week.
“I still have every faith and confidence in the community that we will meet the goal,” he said.
Diane and Einar Larson, of Almira, gave $450.
Lloyd and Harriett Jacobson, of Spokane, gave $400.
An anonymous donor gave $350.
William and Carol Barber, of Spokane, gave $250.
Dick and Lola Lile, of Spokane, gave $200, writing, “Thank you so much for your service to our community! Please accept this donation in memory of my parents, Robert and Ellen Houx and Dorothy R. Powers.” An anonymous donor also gave $200.
Gary and Linda Faire, of Spokane Valley, gave $100.
Donald and Peggy Smet, of Spokane, also gave $100, as did Harold and Heidi Clarke, of Spokane, and David and Maxine Breshears, of Spokane.
Robert and Louise Hall, of Spangle, gave $100 writing, “Keep up the good work to help people have a better Christmas.” Two anonymous donors also gave $100 each.
An anonymous donor gave $60.
Pat and Linda Smith, of Spokane, gave $50, writing, “Thank you for all you do!” Scott and Laurie Nichols, of Coeur d’Alene, also gave $50.
An anonymous donor gave $50.
An anonymous donor gave $25.
An anonymous donor gave $20.