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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Spokane

Bearing down on Christmas Bureau

Chiefs plan to round up donated teddy bears for charity

Supporters of The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund help the charity in various ways.

Some send a donation. Others give their time.

The Spokane Chiefs hockey team rounds up 4,000 or so teddy bears.

The Chiefs will hold their annual “Teddy Bear Toss” tonight, where fans wait for the team’s first goal and then hurl new or gently used bears onto the ice rink to donate to kids in need.

“You’ll see everything from life-sized teddy bears to smaller bears to other kinds of stuffed animals,” said Jay Stewart, the Chiefs’ director of public relations. “It’s fun to see the people carrying everything in.”

The game draws about 7,300 spectators, who last year threw in 4,067 bears. Players help round up the bears, which are loaded into three pickups provided by Gus Johnson Ford.

“It’s a sight to see because not just the beds of the trucks get filled, but the cabs, too,” Stewart said.

The trucks then deliver the bears to organizers of the Christmas Bureau, a 10-day event held at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center organized by The Spokesman-Review, Catholic Charities and Volunteers of America and funded by donations from the community.

The bureau distributes grocery vouchers, toys and books to needy families.

Teddy bears from the Chiefs’ toss will add to parents’ options as they choose gifts for the kids in the bureau’s toy room. The Chiefs give some bears to the Toys for Tots charity and local hospitals, too.

Stewart said the toss is a fun way hockey fans can help people in the community.

“Once the schedule comes out in August, they call and say, ‘When’s the Teddy Bear Toss?’ ” he said.

It’s neat for the players, too.

“They all want to be the one to get the teddy bear goal,” Stewart said. “We’ve had it scored really early, and we’ve had the nightmare where it wasn’t scored at all.”

Even then, the bears find their way to the bureau.

Tonight’s game is against the Swift Current, B.C., Broncos and begins at 7 p.m. For information, call (509) 535-7835 or visit

New donations

Donors bumped the Christmas Fund to $162,114 with $12,855 in new donations Friday.

Justus Bag Co. Inc., of Spokane, gave $5,000 in memory of its founder, Roland “Curly” Justus.

“We are aware of the fact that there is even a greater need this year, and we are hopeful every need will be fulfilled and families will be able to enjoy the holiday season,” the company wrote.

An anonymous donor sent $1,000, as did Mike Altringer, of Spokane.

An anonymous donor gave $600 in memory of “Mom, Peggy, Rick and Craig” and wrote, “Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who make this fund possible.”

Spokane residents Morris and Kathy Wolff and John and Janet Peterson sent $500 each, as did Spokane-based Health Care Training Center, which wrote, “We hope this will help brighten someone’s Christmas.”

Barry and Carole Jones, of Spokane, gave $400 “for blessings received and in honor of our children and seven grandchildren.”

An anonymous donor sent $200 and wrote, “May God bless you for all you do for his suffering children.”

Also sending $200 each were Spokane residents Dennis and Patricia Doyle; Ed and Shirley Bell; and Spokane Valley residents Tim and Ann Riordon.

Bob and Dorothy Putz, of Spokane, gave $150 in memory of Jack and wished “a happy Christmas for the less fortunate.”

Spokane residents Tom and Marcia O’Leary donated $150, and Spokane residents Dallas and Corrine Dixon gave $125.

Five anonymous donors gave $100 each, one in honor of “the folks at Careful Cleaners in Spokane Valley who did the right thing” and one because a family opted not to exchange Christmas gifts in order to make a donation.

Blue Dog Marketing, of Spokane, sent $100, as did the following Spokane residents: Thomas and Elaine Pitzer; Les Hunt; Harold Wilson; FG and LK Browne; and Jack and Doris Primmer, who wrote, “Giving to someone less fortunate is truly in the spirit of Christmas.”

Also donating $100 were D. Gerald Searfoss; Mildred T. Hamilton, of Spokane; David Goering and Sonja Peterson, of Spokane Valley; Birgitta and Jay Landreth, of Tum Tum; Bruce and Ruedene Chandler, of Newport, who thanked the bureau for bringing joy to others; Bertha Booth, of Spokane Valley, who thanked the bureau for “making it possible for so many to have a merry Christmas”; and Neil and Roberta Green, of Mead, who gave in memory of Eleanor Thrapp, “a remarkable woman who fought a long, courage-filled battle with cancer.”

Pullman residents Lianne and Fred Inaba sent $85.

The following donors gave $50:

Charles and Judy Smith, of Spokane; Mark N. Johnson, of Mead; Patricia Callon; Theodore and Virginia Czechowski, of Spokane; Janice Sather, of Spokane, who gave in memory of her father, Roland Kjelland; and James and Deborah Repp, of Spokane Valley, who wrote, “Just a little extra to help those that have been less fortunate than us at this time of year. May the new year bring them peace, joy, happiness and a greater chance at a renewed life.”

Michelle Grove donated $40.

Three anonymous donors gave $30, $25 in memory of Marion Cypert, “a longtime member of the Hillyard Senior Center,” and $25 in memory of Goodwill worker Evelyn Spaeth.

Fran Mann, of Liberty Lake, sent $25; T.C., of Spokane, gave $20 in memory of Elizabeth; and Spokane Valley residents Joan and Dennis Ryan donated $20.

Megan Cooley can be reached at (509) 459-5489 or
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