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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The gift of pajamas helps Christmas Bureau keep children warm

Providence Holy Family Adult Day Health staff members, from left, Amy Kleven, Ruth Berning, sitting, Bebekkah Snyder, Patty Sampson, Sister Barbara Baehr, Oscar Haupt, hidden, and Amy Kincaid, try on hand-knitted winter hats on Nov. 29, 2016, made by one of their patients for the Providence Pajama Drive. So far they have collected some 57 children’s pajamas and 18 of the hats. All will be donated to the Christmas Bureau. DAN PELLE danp@spokesman.com (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Providence Holy Family Adult Day Health staff members, from left, Amy Kleven, Ruth Berning, sitting, Bebekkah Snyder, Patty Sampson, Sister Barbara Baehr, Oscar Haupt, hidden, and Amy Kincaid, try on hand-knitted winter hats on Nov. 29, 2016, made by one of their patients for the Providence Pajama Drive. So far they have collected some 57 children’s pajamas and 18 of the hats. All will be donated to the Christmas Bureau. DAN PELLE danp@spokesman.com (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
By Chelsea Bannach Correspondent

For many children, getting a new pair of pajamas is a Christmas tradition, but for some, new pajamas are a luxury their family can’t afford.

Two groups in Spokane are collecting pajamas to donate to the annual Christmas Bureau to help make Christmas a little cozier for hundreds of children. They’ll receive the pajamas as an extra gift, in addition to the gift their parent or caregiver chooses for them at the Bureau.

The student council at St. Mary’s Catholic School is running one drive.

“We are very supportive of this and I’m proud to be part of it, because it’s truly a Spokane effort,” Kevin Schultz, vice principal and eighth grade teacher at St. Mary’s, said of the bureau. “I just think it’s really worthy.”

Schultz said his group wanted to make a charitable expression during the holiday season because service is one of the main tenets of the Catholic faith, and they have a “preferential option for the poor.”

“It’s just something we really enjoy being a part of,” Schultz said. “The need is out there.”

Schultz said they usually collect about 300 pairs of pajamas. He said while that’s a “drop in the bucket” compared to the need, “there’s still going to be 300 children that get a brand new pair of pajamas on Christmas morning, and that makes the students feel good, that someone is going to be nice and warm and cozy because of something they did.”

“And they’re really cute pajamas, the ones that have come in so far,” he added.

Providence Health Care is also running a pajama drive for the bureau at Sacred Heart Medical Center and Holy Family Hospital.

“It’s a way to live out our mission and for us on the administrative side to make it very easy for employees to give back to the community,” said Providence organizer Sara Clements-Sampson. “We really want to help encourage people to take part in the Christmas Bureau as much as they can.”

It’s the first year of the pajama drive, but Providence hopes to collect at least 500 pairs.

Clements-Sampson said she wants children in the community to go to bed at night feeling warm and cared for.

“It’s a pretty good gift that we can give,” she said.

Members of the public can drop new pajamas, size newborn to size 10, at Sacred Heart or Holy Family. The drive ends Dec. 9. Collection barrels for donations are located throughout the hospitals.

Once they receive the pajamas, Christmas Bureau volunteers will bundle them by size with age-appropriate toys.

“Children are always in need of pajamas,” said bureau volunteer Cheryl Taam, a toy buyer. “It’s a nice extra gift to get a nice, warm set of pajamas. The parents are always very excited about it. They love it.”

There won’t be enough to bundle with every toy given at the Bureau, but if pajamas run out, organizers try to include a stuffed animal as an extra gift, instead.

The bureau serves thousands of low-income families each year. It is paid for by donations to the Christmas Fund, which is run by The Spokesman-Review. Those donations are turned over to Catholic Charities Spokane and Volunteers of America, which operate the bureau.

Taam said they want to be able to get every child a pair someday, and encouraged other organizations to run pajama drives for the bureau in the future. If interested in holding a pajama drive or another kind of drive to benefit the Christmas Bureau, contact Judy Lee, special event coordinator with Catholic Charities Spokane, at jlee@ccspokane.org.

“Its always nice to start out the year with a nice new pair of pajamas,” Taam said. “Something very practical, very useful, and yet it just seems like a part of the Christmas tradition, wearing a brand new pair of pajamas, sitting under the tree and opening presents.”

New donations

New donations reported today pushed the total raised to $55,234.88, getting the Christmas Fund off to an impressive start.

Two donors gave $10,000 each, including Thomas C. Simpson, of Spokane.

“I love Spokane,” Simpson said. “I am born and raised in Spokane. I think it’s an outstanding community. I think this annual drive to raise money to give back to those who need it is absolutely fantastic.”

The other was anonymous, and included a note that said, “thank you for all your organization does for our community.”

Another anonymous donor gave $5,000 with a note that said, “thank you for all the good you all do.”

William Pierce gave $200 via PayPal.

An anonymous donor gave $200.

Nikolaus Krause gave $100 via PayPal.

Mr. and Mrs. Harold Dexter, of Spokane, gave $100 with a note that said, “Many thanks for all your efforts. We are happy to do our part.”

The Shields, of Spokane, gave $100.

An anonymous donor gave $100.

Thomas Caswell, of Spokane, gave $100, as well as Jean Jalufka, of Spokane.

The Skamania Lodge gave $100 with a note that said, “may our collective donations bring cheer and hope.”

J.L. Koons, of Spokane, gave $50, as well as Martha Hakala, also of Spokane.

Steve, Gail and Ben Quaid, of Colbert, gave $50.

Debbie Walter, of Spokane, gave $40.

Donna Stovall gave $25 via PayPal.

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