The penciled handwriting on the envelope was neat, the kind that would earn an A in penmanship. The note and cash inside earn an A in compassion.
“Here’s my donation of $7.00,” it read, with perfect punctuation and spelling. “Sincerely, Vanessa, age 9.”
During the Christmas season it’s one of my job perks to read the cards, notes and letters that area residents, businesses and social groups send with donations for the Christmas Bureau. It’s a task I enjoy, because every day I’m reminded that this community cares about each other enough to make sure every child, no matter how poor, has a nice present under the tree.
This week the stack of envelopes earmarked for the Christmas Bureau has been small but steady; only about 20 new donors have sent money since Thanksgiving but I expect we’ll soon see an avalanche of generosity arrive in the mail.
Donors like Vanessa Taylor give me hope.
“My grandpa came over for Thanksgiving. He bought a newspaper,” the fourth-grader told me in a phone interview. “I read the newspaper. I just wanted to donate, I guess.”
Vanessa’s mom, Joleen Taylor, said she hadn’t realized her daughter had read the article about the Christmas Bureau, which explained that the long-running charity will help more than 9,000 needy families have a happy holiday by providing a book for each child up to age 14, a gift for each child birth through 17 and a $15 to $30 food voucher. It’s funded entirely by reader donations and needs to raise $525,000 this season.
“She’d run into her room and she asked me for an envelope,” said Taylor. “She told us about it afterward. It was totally sealed and ready to go.”
The North Side girl sent almost a month’s worth of her allowance, which is $2 each week.
“I saved up. I had all this money,” Vanessa explained.
Her donation is enough to pay for a nice toy for another child. It’s enough to buy books for three siblings. That’s because the volunteers at the Christmas Bureau get great deals and discounts on quality gifts, stretching donor dollars so Spokane can help every less-fortunate family that comes for Christmas aid.
This charity wouldn’t be possible without donors like Vanessa, who gave to help other kids in her community.
Her mom described that generosity well.
“She’s just very sweet. She’s always had a very giving heart and been very empathetic for her age. It didn’t surprise me, but I’m always impressed by her,” Joleen Taylor said.
Thank you, Vanessa. And thanks to all the donors who have or will give so selflessly this season.
Tim Brinson, of Spokane, gave $1,000 in memory of Megan Brinson.
Richard and Lucille Hallett, of Spokane, gave $215.
Pamela Comstock, of Spokane, gave $100, as did James Dallen.
Joan Casey and Dan Ellis, of Spokane, gave $50.
Tracy Howe, of Spokane, gave $20.
Vanessa Taylor, of Spokane, gave $7 cash.
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