Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a new toy under the tree, and this year the Christmas Bureau has a new partner in providing discounted toys to children in need.
It all happened by accident. Last year, toy volunteer Cheryl Taam was visiting the Sprague Walmart, looking for clips to hang something on the wall. Assistant Manager Ryan Chapin escorted her to the correct location in the store after she asked for help finding what she needed.
“It was a long walk, so were able to talk small talk,” he said.
Taam told Chapin about the Christmas Bureau, and he asked if she had ever considered buying toys at Walmart. She said she had, but was unable to buy the quantities she needed on the website. Chapin volunteered to help, and a new partnership was born.
Chapin didn’t know what he was getting himself into, he said, until Taam gave him her shopping list early this year. The numbers were not small: The list included 400 VTech learning walkers, among many, many other items. “The quantities Cheryl was telling me were mind-blowing,” he said.
Taam wanted to order toys in February, but Chapin assured her there was no rush. “I said, don’t worry, I’ll get them here,” he said.
The toys began arriving last month.
More crucially, Chapin and Walmart are storing the toys Taam purchased, and will deliver them to the Bureau when it opens. Right now the partnership has produced 16 pallets of toys, with more expected this weekend.
Chapin said he was able to give the Christmas Bureau a discount on many of the toys “so Walmart can contribute.”
He said his store, at 5025 E. Sprague Ave., is one of the smaller Walmart stores in Spokane, but he likes the challenge of coordinating such a large toy order. “It’s a fantastic cause,” he said. “Obviously, Sprague Walmart will do whatever we have to do to make this happen.”
New donations of $2,789 have pushed the year to date total to $77,701.86. The goal is to collect $525,000 in donations by Christmas in order to provide food vouchers, toys and books to families who need help with the holidays.
Dick Dixon sent $1,000 along with a note that read “Thanks for your continuing efforts to help our community.” An anonymous Spokane Valley donor contributed $600.
Dave and Barbara Floyd, of Newport, donated $275. Carol Kriegh, of Cheney, donated $240. “I am in two book clubs in Cheney and members in both would like to contribute to the books given at the Christmas Bureau,” she wrote in a note. “Thank you for this wonderful project each year.”
Lane Klees, of Spokane, donated $150. Jan Eastman, of Spokane Valley, donated $100. Two anonymous Spokane donors sent $100 each. An anonymous Veradale donor also sent $100.
Ray and Liz Schatz, of Spokane, donated $54 “in memory of Karen Schatz Dunning, who would have been 54 this year.”
Kathryn Sansone, of Spokane, contributed $50. An anonymous donor sent $20.