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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Some donate to the Christmas Bureau even after the holiday season is over

Each year the Christmas Bureau aims to raise enough funds by Christmas to cover the costs of the toys, books and food vouchers distributed to more than 9,000 needy households so every child in Spokane has something to open on Christmas morning.

Some years the fund makes its goal. Some years it doesn’t.

After barely covering expenses in 2012, last year generous donations from $3 to $35,000 helped the charity surpass its $525,000 target just in time for Christmas. Before the new year, another stack of donations pushed the fund to $582,402, its highest year ever.

Since then The Spokesman-Review continued to receive funds earmarked for the Christmas Bureau, which will be reported today and Tuesday, kick-starting this season’s fundraising effort.

The Klaue Family Foundation, of Spokane, continued its tradition of donating with a gift of $15,000.

“We are very thankful we are able to continue to contribute and be a part of a program that brings joy and many blessings to the families and organizations in need, and ensures over 95 percent of contributions reach the beneficiaries,” David Klaue wrote. “The spirit and uplifting generosity of the Spokane community has helped many families experience the true meaning of Christmas. The benevolent providence and gift of giving back to assist those less fortunate, especially in these unprecedented economic times, is very rewarding.”

Organized by Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America and The Spokesman-Review, the Christmas Bureau enables low-income families to select one present and one book for each child up to age 14. They also receive a $15 to $30 voucher, depending on family size, to buy ingredients for a holiday meal.

Staffed with about 400 volunteers, the event opens Dec. 10 at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center and runs through Dec. 19, excluding Sunday.

It wouldn’t be possible without the support of generous donors, with any amount appreciated. Donations and some of the accompanying notes are reported in daily stories after they’ve been processed.

Other donations received during the year include the following:

The Clarence Colby Memorial Fund, of Spokane, sent $1,910.25.

Spokane County United Way sent $625.02 and $531.31, as well as $616.74 and $531.26 from Rick Betts.

Dave Ulmen, of Spokane, sent $485.20.

The Richard and Connie Stacey Donor-Advised Fund sent $400.

Benjamin Milbrath, of Spokane, gave $400. Milbrath was a Chairman’s Council qualifier for D.A. Davidson & Co., which donated to the charity of his choice. He chose the Christmas Fund.

An anonymous donor gave $300.

The Thrivent Gift Multiplier program sent $250.

Dena Kaplan, of San Diego, gave $242.45 “in memory of my dad & hero, Don Kelly.”

BNSF Railway employee James Portz, of Haslet, Texas, gave $240 via the BNSF Railway and BNSF Railway RailPAC.

Bruce Callcing, of Spokane, gave $150.

Bebe Love, of Spokane, gave $105.

Molly Baltrusch, of Havre, Montana, gave $100 in memory of her mother, Margie Salo, who died Aug. 19, 2014. “She had a heart of others and a desire to help those less fortunate, especially at Christmas,” she wrote.

The employees of Empire Lumber Co. donated $100, writing, “Once more Empire Lumber wishes to add its contribution to the good deeds of the bureau. For almost 20 years Empire Lumber continues to forgo a Christmas lunch in order for the less fortunate to celebrate this holiday.”

The C. Peggy Gazette Charitable Fund sent $100.

Judith Horton, of Coeur d’Alene, sent $5 a month for a total of $55.

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $50. “My family donates this to give back a little something to our community. We’ve been blessed to have our basic needs this year,” they wrote. “Thank you for all your hard work to make this happen.”

Karleen and Kenneth Blanchard, of Spokane, gave $50, as did Paul Swinehart, of Tacoma.

A $50 gift came from a Microsoft matching donation.

Linda Donley, of Gig Harbor, Washington, gave $48.25 via PayPal in memory of Richard Shane.

Paul and Marta Watson, of Spokane, gave $40.

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