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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Number of Christmas Bureau recipients served nearly identical to last year; donations still needed

Christmas Bureau volunteers Rick Haynes, left, and Bill Murphy prepare toys that need batteries on the opening day of the Christmas Bureau, Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Christmas Bureau volunteers Rick Haynes, left, and Bill Murphy prepare toys that need batteries on the opening day of the Christmas Bureau, Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
By Nina Culver The Spokesman-Review

The 2017 Christmas Bureau has closed, but that doesn’t mean our work is done. Garco Construction has come through with its annual donation of $25,000, but there is still $134,250 that needs to be raised to meet the goal of $525,000 to pay for the food vouchers, books and toys given out during the Bureau.

The numbers of those seeking help at the Bureau this year were almost exactly the same as the number assisted last year. This year 26,103 people in 7,532 households received assistance. Of those, 12,059 were adults and 14,044 were children.

In 2016, the Christmas Bureau assisted 26,012 people in 7,540 households. The number of children served this year is up over the 13,786 children assisted last year.

This year’s recipients reported an average gross monthly income of $1,405, though income is not verified.

Rob McCann, director of Catholic Charities, said the numbers have been fairly stable for the last few years. “We think that’s a good thing,” he said. “Maybe that means families are a bit more stable.”

While it seems like donations are slow to come in, McCann said he has faith the community will come through.

Donations over the weekend brought in $57,449, bringing the year-to-date total to $390,749.95.

Garco Construction sent in its annual donation of $25,000, of which $5,960 was donated by employees. “As we look forward to our 40th year in business, we at Garco Construction are pleased to be able to give back to the Spokane community that has been responsible for much of our success,” wrote company president Clancy Welsh. “Our team at Garco would like to thank The Spokesman-Review, Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America and all of the volunteers that continue to make the Christmas Fund such a vital part of the holiday experience here in Spokane.”

An anonymous Spokane Valley couple donated $5,000. “Thank you all for all you do to help give kids a Merry Christmas,” they wrote. “We are happy to be able to contribute. We hope for peace and goodwill locally and throughout the world.”

School Support Services employees from Spokane Public Schools donated $1,888. “While we take pride in supporting public education in Spokane on a daily basis, it is with glad hearts that we also support this very worthy endeavor within our community,” the group wrote in a letter. “Your efforts to bring a ray of happiness to others each Christmas is a tremendous opportunity for our community to come together and help our neighbors.”

Gregory Grissom donated $1,500 via Pay Pal. John Baumhofer of Spokane donated $1,500 in memory of his mother and his aunt. “Keep up the good work!” he wrote. An anonymous Spokane Valley donor contributed $1,500. Mary and Dr. William Murphy of Spokane donated $1,500 “to help the less fortunate of Spokane in their time of need.”

Ken Roberts of Spokane donated $1,000 in memory of his wife, Sharon, who died in May. “She had a heart for children and we both are thankful for all you have done for the community these many years,” he wrote. The Tiffany children donated $1,000 in memory of John and Dorothy Tiffany. “This was one of their favorite charities,” they wrote.

Karen and Tom Harkins, Dana Harbaugh and Sharon Carson each donated $500 via Pay Pal. John Altberg of Ameriprise Financial in Spokane gave $500 via Pay Pal. “This year I continue the tradition of donating to the Christmas Bureau to help those in need rather than sending gifts to my clients,” he wrote. “A smile on a child’s face on Christmas morning is a far greater gift than a calendar. Many thanks to the Bureau and all of your volunteers for the important work that you do in our community.”

Two anonymous Spokane donors each gave $500. The Dinneen family also donated $500. Roger and Kathleen Chase of Spokane contributed $500, as did Linda Ashlock of Liberty Lake. An anonymous Spokane donor sent $500 along with a note that read: “It is my pleasure to help make someone’s Xmas happier. Thank you for the good that you do.”

Daniel and Kathleen Johnson of Spokane gave $500. “Thanks for all the work you do,” they wrote. An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $500 “with the hope that it will help brighten the holiday season and provide some joy in the lives of those in need during this special time of year. We thank The Spokesman-Review for providing this fine service to our community.”

Reamer Family Dentistry of Spokane Valley donated $500. Wagstaff Inc. of Spokane Valley gave $500, as did Maryann Cooley of Cheney.

Wilbur Yates of Spokane contributed $425. Harry Fuhs of Spokane sent $400. Roofers Local No. 189 donated $300. Jim and Lynn Kimmel of Spokane gave $250. Dennis Fiess and Lisa J. Brown each donated $250 via Pay Pal, as did Kristen and Dan Edgar. Donald Gale Jr. of Spokane gave $250.

Kenneth Hill of Spokane and Dorothy J. Elder each donated $200 via Pay Pal. Theresa and Jeffrey Utesch of Veradale gave $200, as did three anonymous Spokane donors. Annalie Evans sent $200 via Pay Pal along with a note that read: “This donation is in lieu of Christmas gifts to our family.” Two anonymous donors each contributed $200 via Pay Pal. “Thank you all for doing such an amazing job,” one of the donors wrote.

Dayton and Norma Wells of Spokane contributed $200, as did Carl and Anna Rabe of Spokane. The Quilt Charmers, a group of local women who make quilts to donate to charity, gave $200. “Bless you for all you do for our Spokane citizens,” wrote member Diana Gentry.

Frank Puschak gave $150 via Pay Pal. Dalene and James Boone of Spokane sent $150. Dave West donated $150 in memory of Howard West. Meredith Hilby of Liberty Lake donated $125, as did Charles Horgan and Andrea Sharps. Donna and Nicholas Zolecki of Veradale sent $125.

The following people each donated $100 via Pay Pal: Sula Potter, Jennifer Stucker, Vicki Morrison, Michael and Terri Hogue, Kathleen Griffith, Heather Brennan, James Knapp, David Lane, Tami Kostecka, Cindy and Hal Nelson, Stephanie Jamison and Deborah Roundy. Kerry Tiffany donated $100 via Pay Pal “in memory of mom and dad.”

Les Hunt gave $100, as did Joan Menzies. Jean Rose and Lorraine Duffy, both of Spokane, each gave $100. Paul and Peggy Smart of Spokane Valley contributed $100, as did Earl and Elaine Shaw of Spokane. Barbara and Andrew Clark and Linda and Gary Faire, all of Spokane Valley, each donated $100.

Janet Robel of Spokane donated $100. Karen and Richard Steele gave $100. Bruce and Lynn Wagner of Spokane donated $100, as did Bob and Kathy Bohlen of Spokane. Carolyn Gowdy of Spokane contributed $100. Miriam Finnegan of Spokane gave $100. Joann and David Savage of Mead sent $100, as did Jim and Barbara Groves of Spokane. An anonymous donor gave $100 in memory of Joe and Irene Lynch. Mary Cannon of Nine Mile Falls contributed $100, as did Raymond Morrison of Deer Park.

The Fab Five, a group of five women who have been friends for 40 years, donated $100. “The year of 2017 was a tough one due to a loss and a very serious health scare,” they wrote. “However, we do recognize we are blessed in so many ways that these tough times are manageable thanks to our sisterhood. Because of our blessings we wanted to contribute $100 to your fund to help others. May this help others going through a tough time be blessed and their spirits lifted.”

An anonymous donor contributed $75 via Pay Pal. Catherine Lundberg of Spokane gave $75. Julie Rose of Riverside Middle School sent $75. “My class and I would like to say ‘Thank you’ for all you provide for our community; especially helping children experience joy during this season,” she wrote.

Karen Harrington of Spokane gave $75 in honor of her grandchildren. “Thanks for all that you do,” she wrote. “So many children benefit each year.”

Katherine Wooley of Spokane donated $50 via Pay Pal in honor of Larry Reuthinger of Deer Park. Emily Gordon of Spokane gave $50 in honor of Becky Nappi and Tony Wadden. Kassia Kain of Spokane donated $50 via Pay Pal in honor of Christmas Bureau volunteers Brigid Krause and Sierra Heinen.

Gary Fiscus of Liberty Lake sent $50. Susan LeMay, Julie Aller and Percy Lynch each gave $50 via Pay Pal. Maren and Brian Bofenkamp of Spokane donated $50, writing that they are “thankful for our beautiful grandchildren.” Sharon and Charles Preston of Nine Mile Falls gave $50. An anonymous donor gave $50 in memory of Don Morley.

W.T. and Charlotte Ardiss of Spokane sent $50. Fran Mitchell of Rathdrum donated $50 in memory of her husband, Dale, and son Rory. “Thanking all you workers that do so much every year,” she wrote. Jena and Mark Hollenbeck of Spokane gave $50. “This small gift is made in memory of my mother, who loved Christmas,” wrote Jena Hollenbeck.

Janet Knapp of Oldtown, Idaho, donated $41 in memory of her daughter, Dawn Hunt, who died in 1999. “She would have been 41 this year,” she wrote. “In her memory I am sending $41, so other children can enjoy Christmas as much as she did. Heartfelt thanks to everyone that makes this possible.”

Touchmark Quilters donated $35. Deborah Carpenter gave $25 via Pay Pal. Preston and Carolyn Smith of Spokane sent $25, as did Sharon Agre of Cheney. June Lawson donated $20 via Pay Pal. An anonymous donor contributed $20, as did Donald and Rosemarie Rader of Spokane Valley.

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

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