The Christmas Bureau is meant to make the holiday better for everyone, not just families with children. Adults, many of whom are seniors, or are disabled or homeless, don’t go home empty-handed.
They’ll receive a grocery store gift certificate meant to pay for a special holiday meal, and get to choose two items that may include winter gloves, knit hats, scarves or slippers, plus candy.
Many of the adult recipients are living on fixed incomes.
“It serves a population that’s often ignored,” said bureau volunteer Mary Westerman.
Bernadette Baber, 52, looked through a stack of gloves before deciding on a soft pink pair with fur on the cuffs.
“I like these,” Baber said, smiling. “Perfect.”
Baber is diabetic and on disability. She lives alone with her therapy dog and her service dog, and visited the bureau Monday to pick up the items she says will make her holiday happier.
“Things like this are a godsend,” she said. “It’s something I couldn’t do on my own. Now I can get myself a nice holiday meal.”
The grocery store gift certificates are good at five participating grocery stores: Fred Meyer, Safeway, Albertsons, Rosauers Supermarkets, and Yoke’s Fresh Market. Albertsons/Safeway donated the candy.
Baber said Christmas is a tough time of year for her ever since her husband died. While the pain of his absence never goes away, she’s learning to live with it, she said.
“I spend a lot of time alone on Christmas crying, because Christmas was my husband’s favorite holiday,” she said. “I don’t do much Christmas decorating anymore, because it’s too hard still.”
But, she said, the bureau is a bright spot for her during the holidays.
“It’s nice to get out and socialize and meet people,” she said.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul donated 2,828 gloves – including those Baber selected – through its “Gloves with Love” program, now in its second year.
The nonprofit acquired most of the gloves through glove drives organized at schools and churches, and paid for others with donations via a GoFundMe campaign.
“Many of the gloves that were donated are just such high quality,” said Bo Cunningham with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. “I’m just astounded at the kindness and generosity of people.”
Testcomm LLC gave $5,500, writing, “every year since our inception 20 years ago, we have made a point of being part of the success of this wonderful occasion. We are proud to be part of the Spokane community and to continue our participation in this annual event of sharing and caring.”
Kathryn Ann Mautz, of Spokane, gave $1,000 in memory of Elsie Kitkoski.
Chancery Quilting Ladies gave $1,000.
An anonymous donor gave $600, writing, “Keep up the great work!”
Harold and Sharon Cathcart, of Colbert, gave $500. An anonymous donor also gave $500.
Sharen Robertson, of Spokane, gave $500, writing, “Thank you for making the Christmas holiday special for all. Thank you to all the volunteers who make this possible.”
Mike and Rita Gibson, of Spokane, gave $500, writing, “Warmest wishes to you for a successful fundraiser!”
Mary Lou and Peter Bach, of Spokane, gave $400, writing, “May this help brighten Christmas for others that may need help this time of year!”
John and Terry Engleman, of Spokane, gave $300. Bryce and Cheryl Backus, of Spokane Valley, also gave $300, as well as Virginia Schneidmiller, of St. John.
Peggy and Dan Jeremiah, of Spokane Valley, gave $300, writing, “Thank you for being there for all the Spokane area kids.”
An anonymous donor gave $300, writing, “In memory of my husband and daughter. Thank you to all the volunteers. Hope this will make Christmas a little brighter for someone in need. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”
An anonymous donor gave $300, writing, “This is a gift to help the needy, and we wish to thank all the volunteers who help and make this such a huge success.”
Jim and Julie Lehr, of Spokane, gave $250. Burt and Shirley Pendleton, of Spokane, also gave $250.
William and Sharon Beck, of Otis Orchards, gave $200, as did Spokane residents Larry and Tudy Hatch, Paul Cottrell, and Mr. and Mrs. Donald Petersen.
Gunhild Clegg, of Spokane, gave $200, writing, “Once again I add my thanks to all the elf helpers who put the Christmas Fund to such wonderful use.”
Two anonymous donors gave $200 each.
Joan Williams, of Spokane, gave $125, writing, “In memory of Roy Anderson, who loved all children and wanted them to be happy.”
An anonymous donor gave $125.
The following donors gave $100: Kathleen Roche, Arlen and Charleene Ristuben, Franklin Browne, Ed and Sharon Cassens, William Davis, Sharon Grimmer, Tara Hamm, RJ and LM Martin, and Jill and Jerry Skogstad.
Charles and Kathleen Huggins, of Spokane, gave $100, writing, “This donation is given in memory of Kathy’s father, Don Cagle, who passed away in September at the age of 97.”
Robert and Marge Folsom, of Spokane, gave $100, writing, “In memory of Bob’s son, Randy, and Marge’s brother, Roger.”
Pam and Randy, of Spokane, gave $100 “in remembrance of April.”
Jenny-Ann Edgren, of Spokane, gave $100 “in honor of my gorilla.”
Sarah Wasicek, of Spokane, gave $100, writing, “In memory of my beloved husband Frank Wasicek Jr. The best husband ever.”
Maxine Kinzer, of Spokane, gave $100, writing, “To all you hard workers and to all those you help.”
Joe and Charri Doeleman, of Spokane, gave $100, writing, “Charri and I are happy to be able to give this money to make a few people’s holiday a little happier. We would like to say thank you to all that make the bureau work. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!”
The Conklin Family, of Spokane Valley, gave $100, writing, “Please accept this check for your fund to bring joy to the people in need. Thank you all for your work and dedication to helping our community.”
Donna Isaak, of Spokane Valley, gave $100, writing, “In loving memory of my parents, Leona and Emil Isaak.”
Bob and LeeAnn Hanke, of Spokane Valley, also gave $100.
Mr. and Mrs. Allan Park, of Veradale, gave $100, writing, “What a great outreach to help those in need. Thanks for all you do.”
An anonymous donor gave $100 in honor of Ellomae Demond.
Two more anonymous donors gave $100 each.
Another anonymous donor gave $100, writing, “Thank you to all of you who give your time to this charity. We volunteer for the Bureau at the fairgrounds and look forward to it every year.”
Ladies of the Wednesday Bridge Group gave $90.
Dixie and Mary Riddle, of Mead, gave $75.
Adrian and Wanda Nichols, of Spokane, gave $75.
Sherwood and Sara Jones, of Cheney, gave $50, writing, “Many thanks to all your volunteers that give your time to make Christmas brighter for others.”
Scott and Leslie Huff, of Kingwood, Texas, gave $50.
Wileva Damon, of Spokane, gave $50, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bryan, Thomas Pope, and an anonymous donor.
Gary and Jan Huguenin, of Spokane, gave $40.
Thelma Ostby, of Chattaroy, gave $35 in honor of Christmas Bureau volunteers. Laura Nestoss, of Spokane Valley, also gave $35.
Kathleen Suenkel, of Spokane, gave $25, as well as Pauline Carlson. Estellene Shaver, of Spokane, gave $25 in memory of Carley Barrett.
Doris Anderson, of Liberty Lake, gave $20.
An anonymous donor gave $20, writing, “Have a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year. God’s blessings to you all.”
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