Thanks to the Christmas Bureau, many less-fortunate children in our community will sit by the Christmas tree and open a new gift Sunday morning.
And while Christmas will soon be over, there is still time to embrace the season of giving by donating to the Christmas Fund, the collection effort that pays for the Bureau each year.
So far, more than 1,160 donors have contributed. Donations ranging from $5 to $35,000 have helped the fund approach its goal, but more is needed.
“Spokane is such a loving and generous community that really looks out for those in need,” said Fawn Schott, president and CEO of Volunteers of America Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho.
Schott called on the community to make donations to help those struggling to make ends meet during the holidays. The money raised pays for grocery store gift vouchers, new toys and books for thousands of individuals and families in the community.
At the end of this week, money donated to the fund will be handed over to Catholic Charities Spokane and Volunteers of America. The Christmas Fund still needs $42,006.37 to meet the $525,000 goal set by organizers based on an estimate of need in the community, coupled with the cost of the books and toys.
This year, the Bureau assisted 26,012 people in 7,540 homes with an average gross monthly income of $1,330.37. Those served include 13,786 children.
Rob McCann, president and CEO of Catholic Charities Spokane, said the need in the community is staggering.
“The Christmas Fund is a chance to do something about it,” McCann said.
Spokane donors have faithfully supported the fund and helped it reach its goal for the past 11 years. Last year, last-minute donations pushed the fund comfortably past its goal. McCann said he is confident the fund will reach its goal yet again.
“It’s Christmas,” he said. “There’s absolutely hope.”
But, he said, it’s essential to balance hope with accountability and responsibility as a community.
“I believe in this community,” he said. “It’s never let us down and it won’t this year, either.”
Ibex Flooring gave $5,000, writing, “Thank you for all your hard work to help those less fortunate this year! You provide a valuable service to our community. Merry Christmas!”
Spokane Valley Eagles No. 3433 gave $4,540, writing, “The Spokane Valley Eagles held two fundraisers to be able to send this check to a very special organization with lots of help from our members.”
Trindera Engineering gave $2,500 via PayPal.
An anonymous donor gave $2,000 via PayPal.
Plastic Surgery Northwest gave $2,000, writing, “Happy holidays and warm greetings from the physicians at Plastic Surgery Northwest. We are getting close to Christmas, and again express our support and gratitude to the Spokane community by offering our contribution of $2,000. We’re so appreciative of the admirable work done by The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund. It is an honor to be able to contribute to your efforts as you give to those in need throughout the holiday season. Thank you for continuing to inspire others and us by sharing what we believe truly makes the holiday season special. Best wishes to you and your families for a wonderful holiday and a happy New Year.”
R & R Heating and Cooling gave $1,500.
Larry and Patricia Bishop, of Las Vegas, gave $1,000. An anonymous donor also gave $1,000, writing, “Thanks to all the volunteers,” as did the Comes Family, of Spokane, DMC Investments, and Wagstaff Inc.
RPC, Rock Placing Co., and its employees gave $600.
Gary and Susan Bloom gave $500 “In loving memory of Joann Dunlap.”
The Wagner Family gave $500, as did Donald and Charlotte Butler, Marilyn Frei, of Spokane, Fred and Sharon Clark, of Chattaroy, and an anonymous donor.
Jeff and Kim Brown, of Mead, gave $500, writing, “In memory of Thomas E. Busch, Kim’s dad, who passed this year.”
Ted Allen gave $300.
Elaine Cullen, of Chattaroy, gave $250, writing, “In honor of my parents, Dave and Margaret, who always made this season magic!”
An anonymous donor gave $250, writing, “I am making this donation again this year to honor all the numerous blessings that I continue to enjoy. I pray this will help in some small way and make a difference.”
Karen and Steve Heaps, of Spokane Valley, gave $250 in memory of Nick Tellez.
Daniel Mahoney gave $250, writing, “In honor of the 20 doctoral students in the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) program at Gonzaga University and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, we are happy to make our annual gift of $250 to the Christmas Bureau knowing it will provide toys, books, and groceries for children and families in Spokane this Christmas.”
Thomas Swanson, of Spokane, also gave $250, as did Integrity Insurance Solutions LLC.
Gregory Kirk, of Spokane, gave $200, “In loving memory of ‘Grover.’ ”
Lynelle Kirk-Spence, of Spokane, also gave $200, writing, “In loving memory of my parents, Bob and Florence Kirk.”
Marie Salisbury, of Spokane Valley, gave $200, writing, “In loving memory of H. Earl Davis from his family. Thanks for all you do to make this possible.”
An anonymous donor gave $200, writing, “A big ‘thank you’ to all the volunteers and agencies that make this ‘Spokane Christmas Miracle’ a success each year. The Spokane community is a very generous, giving community in always funding this once a year miracle for the less fortunate families.”
More $200 donors: John D. Miskulin, Stephen Waco, via PayPal; Gary Michel and Janis Carrington, of Spokane; Ron and Patti Vincent, of Spokane; Kevin and Judy Heid, of Spokane.
An anonymous donor, of Spokane, gave $150, writing, “Great work, Christmas Bureau! You’ve brought joy to so many.” Another anonymous donor also gave $150.
H. Douglas and Carol Spruance, of Spokane, gave $125, as did Nick and Donna Zolecki, of Veradale.
James English gave $120 via PayPal.
Barbara Traynor gave $100 in memory of John Traynor.
An anonymous donor gave $100 in honor of Karen Ithomitis and Kay Ottem.
Minnie Samek, of Spokane, gave $100, writing, “Here’s for the good work you have done in the community. This is in memory of my husband, Phil, and son Darrell and for all my friends who are so hopeful for me and family.”
David and Joann Savage, gave $100, writing, “Thanks for doing this for our community!”
David and Patricia Seese, of Spokane, gave $100, writing, “In memory of our fathers, John Seese and Robert Brandley, and sister, Nancy Brandley. Thank you to all who help make our home a true community.”
Rebecca Griffith and Robert Barr, of Spokane, gave $100, writing, “Thank you for helping those in need.”
James and Laural Hepton, of Veradale, gave $100, writing, “In memory of our mothers, Maxine Hepton and Katherine Lambright, two generous and loving women whose spirits epitomized giving to others.”
John and Mary Ellen Murphy, of Spokane, gave $100, writing, “Thank you for all your good work at the holiday season. This money is in honor of the Connolly Family with whom we have shared 40 Christmas holidays.”
The following donors also gave $100: John Miller via PayPal; Sandra Povich via PayPal; Dianne Bongarts, of Spokane; Theodore and Mary Shepard, of Spokane Valley; Melvin and Gloria McCudden; Cormac and Margo McBride, of Spokane; Pat Martin, of Spokane; Ken Gerard and Lynda Ensign, of Clayton; James and Sally Geyer, of Spokane; Bruce and Rebekha Higgins, of Spokane; Muriel A. Cleveland, of Mead; Jim Barry, of Spokane; Randy and Glenda Scheideman, of LaCrosse; and an anonymous donor.
The Julia Cul De Sac women gave $80 in memory of Cindy Howe.
Patrick Thiel, of Spokane Valley, gave $75, writing, “Thanks for all you do.”
Mike and Vic Roberts gave $60, “In the name of Grandma Bonnie Roberts.”
Mrs. Julie Rose and students gave $50, writing, “My students and I want to contribute to the wonderful work that you do in our community. We want to wish everyone joy and peace at Christmas.”
The following donors also gave $50: Adrienne Goodwin, of Spokane; Kathy Hill, of Spokane; Henry and Margaret Benson, of Chattaroy; Katherine Wooley, of Spokane, for Larry Reuthinger; Karen Chicha, of Spokane; Coeur d’Alene Contractor; the Jim Scott Family, of Spokane; Bruce Mountjoy, of Spokane Valley; and David and Sandra Mueller, of Spokane Valley.
Mary Hedrick gave $40 via PayPal.
Mark Shuller gave $25 via PayPal. Myrna Schimmels, of Spokane Valley, also gave $25, as did the Rader Family, of Spokane Valley.
John and Nora Allen, of Spokane, gave $20, as did an anonymous donor, who wrote, “Hope this will help make someone happy.”