Nine-year-old Emmeline Hirt has already learned about the true spirit of Christmas – it’s about giving, not receiving.
She saved up her allowance for 10 weeks so she could donate $50 to the Christmas Bureau so other children could have Christmas presents. It’s the second year she has donated that amount.
“I didn’t want it to be too much and I didn’t want it to be too little,” she said.
The tradition of giving to the Bureau began years ago when she asked Santa to redirect her gifts to children who needed them. So her parents began donating money to the Bureau to provide those gifts to other children.
Last year, Emmeline asked to take over the annual gift.
“She’s always had a very kind heart,” said her mother, Tracey Hirt.
Emmeline said her gift this year is in honor of her grandmother, Linda Fisher, who died a few months ago. “I feel like it’s the right thing to do,” she said.
Tracey Hirt said she knew about the Christmas Bureau because she and her husband used to work for Volunteers of America.
“There were years when my husband and I struggled, but I can’t imagine not being able to afford to buy your children a present,” she said. “That has got to be just heartbreaking.”
Now the Bureau has a friend in Emmeline, who said she plans to keep saving up her allowance to donate every year.
And donations of all sizes are still needed. New donations of $35,906.45 have pushed the year-to-date total to $426,656.40, which is just under $100,000 away from the goal of $525,000.
Cochrane & Company of Spokane donated $10,000. “This year Cochrane & Company is once again excited to contribute to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund,” said a letter enclosed with the gift. “With this money we know that your organization will not only help alleviate a financial burden for families within our community but help spread holiday cheer.”
Sara Weaver-Lundberg donated $5,000 via Pay Pal. Jeff and Kae Johnson of Spokane gave $2,500 via PayPal.
The staff of University High School in Spokane Valley donated $1,039. “In what has become an annual tradition, the teachers and staff of University High School have dedicated themselves to helping those less fortunate during the holiday season,” they wrote. “We are proud to show our spirit as Titans and would like to present you with this donation of $1,039 to share with the needy in the Spokane area. We commend your efforts, and we wish you the best in reaching this year’s goal.”
An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $1,000. Wray Farmin, of Spokane, sent $1,000.
The South Hill Bunco Babes donated $630. “We save our money through the year and are pleased to be able to contribute $630 this year to support the Christmas Bureau in the wonderful work you do to meet the needs of the whole Spokane community,” they wrote. An anonymous donor gave $578. An anonymous donor sent $519.45 in memory of Chuck, Pauline and Barry.
Diane Kelly, of Spokane, donated $500 in memory of Don Kelly “who worked at the Christmas Bureau for many years and knew the true spirit of giving.” Patricia Huggins, of Pullman, gave $500 in memory of Wendy Williams, “who had a generous heart.” An anonymous Spokane donor sent $500.
Morris Wolff, of Spokane, donated $500 in memory of Dean Wolff. Dennis and Donna Kelly, of Spokane, gave $500 in memory of longtime Christmas Bureau volunteer Don Kelly. Spokane Production Service gave $500. An anonymous donor gave $500 in memory of John Miller.
Michel and Linda Geraghty, of Spokane Valley, contributed $300. Elaine Cullen, of Chattaroy, gave $300 “in honor of my mom, who always made Christmas special.” Albert Materi, of Spokane, donated $300 “for all people that are in need of a little extra and in memory and tribute to all Gold Star families (including mine) and first responders who gave their all for all of us.” Kevin Gilmore, of Spokane, gave $300, as did an anonymous donor.
An anonymous Cheney donor sent $300. “Please extend our best wishes to all the wonderful people who make the Christmas Bureau a Spokane treasure,” the donor wrote.
An anonymous Spokane donor gave $250, as did Donna Hares, of Spokane. Edward and Sandra Vogelman, of Sticky Fingers Bakeries, donated $250. “Merry Christmas to all Spokane,” they wrote.
Robert McVicars contributed $200 via PayPal. Tom and Molly Beil, of Spokane, gave $200 via Pay Pal. “Merry Christmas to those in need!” they wrote. The Eastern Washington University MFA in creative writing class of 2019 donated $200. Marvin Soehren, of Spokane, sent $200.
Leeanne Stallings, of Spokane, sent $200. Dave Broom donated $200 in honor of Mick Soss, a longtime Christmas Bureau volunteer. Knox and Shelby Pittman gave $200. “Thank you for your great service to the community,” they wrote. The Joyce and George Charitable Giving Fund donated $200.
The Jacky family, of Deer Park, gave $200 in memory of Jim Bonner, Mary “Jo” C. and Nancy Brandley, “loved family members who lived and enjoyed the spirit of Christmas. Merry Xmas to all the volunteers and staff that make this happen.” Denise Mutschler, of Cheney, donated $200.
Carol Christianson, of Spokane, gave $150 in memory of her mother, Marcia Sather. Helen Marksbury, of Spokane, donated $125 in memory of her husband, Bob. Jim and Carol Kershner, of Spokane, gave $110 via PayPal.
Tracey McHenry and Brian Donahue, of Spokane, donated $100 via PayPal, as did Frank Neeri. David Saraceno donated $100 via Pay Pal in memory of John I. Saraceno. Ann and Troy Cunningham, of Spokane, gave $100 via PayPal in memory of “our precious mom.” An anonymous donor gave $100 via PayPal. R.J. and Julie Cornell donated $100 via PayPal on behalf of Duke and Sue Cornell. The couple also donated an additional $100 via PayPal on behalf of Ardith Divine.
The following people donated $100: Christina Marino, of Spokane; Linda Wood of Colbert; Joyce and Jerry Fielding, John Kent and Jacqueline Richardson, Daniel and Mal-Suk Gross, Barbara and Larry Tobin, Elizabeth and Steven Hitch, Patrick Kenney, and George and Bev Heathcote, all of Spokane.
Leland and Julie Fish, of Spokane, gave $100. “Merry Christmas to all of you and thanks so much for your time and efforts for Spokane’s needy children,” they wrote. An anonymous Spokane Valley donor and an anonymous donor from Ephrata, Washington, each donated $100. The Stimson family, of Spokane, contributed $100. “Merry Christmas to all the people who receive from the Christmas Fund,” they wrote.
Additional $100 donors include: Linda Cannon, Linda Martin, Joan and Michael Keegan, Sandra Hatch and Helen McIndoe, all of Spokane; Don and Sharon Morse, of Spokane Valley; Don and Vicki Gorder, of Buckeye, Arizona; and James Koppa, of Spokane Valley.
Erlinda Fry, of Spokane, donated $100. “I’m just happy to do this,” she wrote. “I used to be a receiver, now I wanted to give it back. Thank everyone. God bless you all!” An anonymous Spokane Valley donor sent $100. “Thanks and Merry Christmas to all of you wonderful elves,” the donor wrote. Teri and Paddy Inman, of Mead, gave $100. “Thank you for the wonderful joy you bring to so many every year,” they wrote.
Betty Frost, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of Jack E. Frost Sr. and Jack Jr. Kelly and Janet Watson, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of Bill Watson. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $100 in memory of James McAllister and Melody Schumann Johnson. James and Marlene McBride, of Nine Mile Falls, contributed $100. “Pleased that we are able to share,” they wrote.
Ellen Krehbiel and Jeff Wasson, of Colbert, sent $100 in honor of the Wasson family. Robert and Pamela Kennedy donated $100 in memory of Bill Koch, a longtime volunteer with the Christmas Bureau. Becky Griffth and Robert Barr, of Spokane, gave $100. “Thank you! Merry Christmas!” they wrote.
Thomas and Elaine Pilzer donated $80. An anonymous Mead donor gave $60.
Lee Kershner donated $50 via PayPal “in honor of our grandchildren.” Debra Ellis-McBride donated $50 via PayPal, as did Marimar Odle and Megan Carpenter. Linda and Pat Smith, of Spokane, sent $50 along with a short note that read: “Thank you for this wonderful service you provide!”
John and Bonnie Hagen, of Spokane, contributed $50, as did Karen Chicha, of Spokane. Vivian Burrell, of Spokane, gave $50, as did Carol McKenny, of Spokane. Sandi Dickey, of Spokane, donated $50 in memory of Bill Dickey and Shirley Swartz. Gordon and Christa Bledsoe, of Spokane Valley, donated $50, as did Pat and Darlene Reilly, of Spokane Valley. An anonymous Spokane Valley donor gave $50.
Alex Rizzuto, of Spokane, gave $50. William and Idaho Young, of Spokane, contributed $50. Melvin and Gloria McCuddin, of Spokane, donated $50. Edith Helfer, of Coeur d’Alene, also sent $50. Phyllis Thayer, of Spokane, gave $50, as did Rose Veach, of Spokane.
The Franciscan Sisters of Spokane donated $40. “This is to help brighten someone’s Christmas,” they wrote. Two anonymous Spokane Valley donors sent checks totaling $40. “Thanks to all who have helped to make it possible for those who need help this time of year,” one of the donors wrote.
Gordon Landbert, of Spokane Valley, gave $35, as did Laura and Steven Nestoss, of Spokane Valley. Margot Wilson, of Spokane Valley, gave $30. “Here is my annual contribution,” she wrote. “Keep up the good work! Hope you reach your goal.” Tom and Jessie Latimer, of Spokane, donated $25, as did Bob and Denise Frechette, of Spokane. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $25. Another anonymous Spokane donor gave $10.
For donations made through PayPal, The Spokesman-Review contributed the processing fee.