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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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With $215,865 needed for Christmas Fund, Catholic Charities director expresses faith in community support

By Chelsea Bannach Correspondent

Although this year’s Christmas Bureau has come to an end, donations from the community still are needed to help those in need.

The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund, which pays for the Bureau, is down significantly from this time last year. Of the $525,000 needed, $309,134.63 has been raised.

In other words, $215,865.37 is needed to reach this year’s goal, and time is running out.

“We’re getting close to Christmas and we need a Christmas miracle,” said Rob McCann, director of Catholic Charities Spokane, which organizes the Bureau along with Volunteers of America. “We will make the goal. I have 100 percent faith in this community.”

Each year, the program provides grocery store gift certificates, new toys, books and more to those less fortunate.

McCann said the need in Spokane is great and called on community members to step up and contribute to provide hope and help for those who are struggling.

“We can’t just be OK with it,” he said.

This year, the Bureau assisted 26,012 people in 7,540 households. The average gross monthly income of those recipients is $1,330.37.

Although this year’s Bureau just recently closed its doors until next year, money is still needed to pay the bills from operating it, and to start buying toys and books for next year.

Because of the program, 13,786 children will get to experience the joy of opening a new gift Christmas Day. The Bureau’s scale is on par with similar programs in much larger cities, including New York and Chicago, because of the generosity of individuals and businesses that donate.

“That’s a good testament to the community of Spokane,” McCann said.

Travis Pattern & Foundry is one such business. It gave $35,000 to the fund to help make Christmas merrier for many people.

Company President Travis Garske wrote: “The owners and employees of Travis Pattern & Foundry again wish to donate the funds that we would have spent on a Christmas party to your fund. We are very pleased to enclose a check in the amount of $35,000. We hope we help make Christmas a little brighter for some Spokane families. We wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a great new year.”

Other new donations

An anonymous donor gave $519.45, writing, “In memory of Chuck, Pauline and Barry. Thank you for supporting such a worthy cause.”

James and Leonette Hiller, of Spokane, gave $250.

An anonymous donor gave $250.

John and Sherry Gaiser gave $210, writing, “Merry Christmas to all.”

Keith Kadel gave $200 via PayPal.

An anonymous donor gave $150.

Another anonymous donor gave $105, writing, “In memory of my parents, long-time supporters.”

An anonymous donor from Otis Orchards gave $100.

Michael Bonderenko, of Coulee City, gave $100.

William Siems gave $100 via PayPal.

An anonymous donor gave $100, writing, “Thank you for a great job.”

An anonymous donor gave $100, writing, “In memory of my son, Jim.”

Larry and Pam McClenny gave $50 via PayPal.

Brian and Maren Bofenkamp gave $50, writing, “For our fabulous grandson, Kayden Bofenkamp.”

Don and Carol Callahan gave $25 via PayPal.

Marge Boyles gave $25.

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

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