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Volunteers collect pajama donations for children served by the Christmas Bureau

Peg Currie, the Chief Operating Officer at Providence Sacred Heart Hospital, looks at some of the first pajamas donated to the hospital’s pajama drive Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. The drive is hoping to gather many pairs of children’s pajamas to be distributed at the Christmas Bureau next month. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Peg Currie, the Chief Operating Officer at Providence Sacred Heart Hospital, looks at some of the first pajamas donated to the hospital’s pajama drive Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. The drive is hoping to gather many pairs of children’s pajamas to be distributed at the Christmas Bureau next month. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Everyone gets excited about a new pair of children’s footie pajamas, exclaiming about the trucks and penguins and the bright colors - and that’s just the adults.

Employees at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Providence Holy Family Hospital and other Providence medical offices throughout Spokane County are thinking of the bright eyes of little children as they shop for pajamas that will be donated to the Christmas Bureau before it opens on Dec. 8.

The pajama drive, which is in its second year at Providence, started Monday. St. Mary’s Catholic School in Spokane Valley is also collecting pajamas for the Bureau.

Peg Currie, Chief Operations Officer for Providence Health Care, said she has fond memories of getting a new pair of pajamas every year for Christmas. She doesn’t have grandchildren of her own, so she enjoys shopping for the children who will visit the Christmas Bureau.

“I can’t wait to go shopping for new pajamas,” she said. “This is kind of fun shopping for me. It’s nostalgic for me.”

Last year the health care group collected 750 pairs of pajamas for kids up to age 8. This year they hope to collect 1,000 pairs, Currie said.

While that may sound like a lot, the pajamas typically run out before the Bureau closes its doors. Last year 13,786 children were served by the Bureau.

Currie and many other hospital employees have visited the Christmas Bureau as volunteers. She said she is always struck by how appreciative people are to receive such simple things - a small food voucher, a toy, a new pair of pajamas.

Given their experiences as volunteers, it was only natural to add a pajama drive for the Christmas Bureau to their many charitable giving efforts, she said. “It’s so aligned with our mission here,” she said. “It’s part of who we are.”

Members of the public are welcome to donate to the pajama drive. Ask at the front desk of any Providence facility for the location of the nearest donation bin.

Contributions to the Christmas Bureau happen year-round, not just in December. The tally of donations received through early November this year is $11,016.48, bringing the year to date total to $21,394.48.

Several of those donations came via Pay Pal. The payment company withholds a small processing fee from each donation. The Spokesman-Review pays the fee so the entire amount given by each donor makes its way to the Christmas Bureau.

An anonymous gift of $5,000 was donated by a fund managed by the Inland Northwest Community Foundation.

Rick Betts made donations of $833.48, $625, $416.74 and $416.74 throughout the year via United Way.

The Ladies Auxiliary of the Sons of Norway Tordenskjold Lodge 2-005 in Spokane made a donation of $600. The auxiliary disbanded five years ago, but has been donating a portion of their funds to The Christmas Bureau every year since 2013. This year’s gift will be the final one, according to a note from Lodge Treasurer Judy Moxley.

John Altberg of Ameriprise Financial in Spokane donated $500 via Pay Pal and included a note that said: “It has become a tradition to make a small donation to the fund rather than to send small gifts to my clients for Christmas. Thanks to all of the volunteers who work tirelessly to brighten Christmas for those in need.”

Marlene Geraghty and Mary Conley each gave $500 via Pay Pal. Conley’s donation was sent in memory of Bill Kuch. David Maccini donated $500 via Pay Pal, writing “Thank you for all the good you do.”

The Barbara Augusta Gift Fund managed by the Schwab Charitable Fund donated $200. Robert Davis gave $200 via Pay Pal.

Gary and Carol Blake of Spokane donated $100, as did Russ and Kathy Mager of Lewiston, Idaho. Terry Fowler donated $100 via Pay Pal in memory of Patty Fowler. Cindy Nelson donated $100 via Pay Pal. Vernon Winkle, Carrie Wallace and Eric Kelly donated $50 each via Pay Pal.

Stuart Nachtsheim gave $40 and an anonymous donor sent $42, both via Pay Pal.

Elizabeth Brown of Troy, Idaho, sent $25 in memory of John Tiffany. Karen Ssebanakitta gave $25 via Pay Pal.

Judith Horton of Coeur d’Alene sent in six donations of $5 each. In early November, Centennial Properties collected the coins from the fountain in the courtyard behind The Spokesman-Review building and the proceeds - $7.47 - were donated to the Christmas Bureau.