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Not just for kids: Christmas Bureau provides help for single adults and people living outside Spokane County

Gary Earl Anderson, 79, picks out a pair of gloves with the help of volunteer Suzy Miller, right, at a table set aside for small gifts for unaccompanied adults Monday, Dec. 12, 2016 at the Christmas Bureau at the Spokane Fair and Expo Center. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The main goal of the Christmas Bureau is to provide food vouchers and toys to families with children, but single adults are also welcome to come by after the Bureau opens on Dec. 8.

The Bureau has limited supplies of hats, gloves and toiletry kits available for single adults. Adults are also eligible to receive a food voucher for $15.

The gloves are collected by volunteers with the Spokane District Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which places collection boxes in local Catholic churches. The gloves can be new or gently used, and are picked up and brought to the Bureau the day before it opens, said organizer Bo Cunningham.

People are enthusiastic donors, he said. “They don’t bring a pair of gloves, they bring bags of gloves,” he said.

The glove collection is in its third year. The first year, 2,500 pairs of gloves were donated, and 2,800 pairs came in last year. “We’re shooting for 3,000 this year,” Cunningham said.

It was important for the volunteers to do something that helped adults, since children get a toy and a book, Cunningham said. “It’s nice to be able to give them something,” he said.

Last year, Cunningham thought all the gloves had been collected, but on the last day the Christmas Bureau was open, Mary Queen Parish called and said they still had gloves. He picked them up and brought them to the Bureau, which, he discovered, was down to its last half dozen pairs.

“Things like this happen and it just lifts your spirits,” Cunningham said.

Though donors are generous, volunteers generally end up buying some new gloves using donations from the Society’s “Gloves with Love” Go Fund Me page, he said.

In addition to serving single adults, the Bureau is also open to people who do not live in Spokane County. People need to provide photo identification for each adult in the home and proof of address for each adult, but it doesn’t matter where that address is. Children must have identification that provides their name, date of birth and address. That identification can be a letter from a school, day care or social service agency.

Donations

Donations are coming in slowly and steadily, but there is still a long way to go to reach the goal of $525,000 by Christmas. Today’s tally of $5,883.18 brings the year-to-date total to $66,837.86.

Scott and Shannon Sevigny donated $1,200. Sharon and Bill Bronson of Spokane mailed in a check for $1,000.

Roland Weinhandl sent a check for $788.18 along with a short note: “Our local Horseless Carriage Club of America decided to close out our account, and could not find a better cause than the Christmas Fund.”

Annette Seubert of Spokane sent $500. St. Joseph Catholic Parish in Metaline Falls sent a donation of $450.

Frances Waddell of Spokane donated $260. “As usual I save a small amount each month, so I can help some families who are in need,” she wrote in a short note accompanying her gift. “Blessings to all the volunteers who give their time to help make the fund possible.”

Jan Carrington and Gary Michel of Spokane donated $200, as did Clifford Rankin of Spokane.

Jon and Judy Gardner of Spokane contributed $100, as did Alan and Billie Hendrickson of Spokane. Mary Ann Darrow of Spokane donated $100 in memory of Mark Darrow. Richard Skelton of Liberty Lake donated $100. Bernard Korth of Spokane donated $100, as did an anonymous donor from Spokane. Joseph Toombs Jr. donated $100 in memory of Lois Toombs. Cynthia Miles of Spokane Valley sent $100. Donald Barden and Theophil Otto both donated $100 via Pay Pal.

An anonymous Spokane Valley donor gave $60 in memory of her son, Jim. Connie Vetter of Spokane sent $50, as did Jim and Barb Christie of Spokane. Ernst and Rita Pickel of Spokane contributed $30. Martha Hakala of Spokane donated $25, as did Charlie Lytle of Spokane Valley. Donald Schultz of Cheney sent $25 via Pay Pal. Mark and Cheryl Morrissey of Spokane donated $20.

For donations made through PayPal, The Spokesman-Review contributed the processing fee.