People who wait hours in line at the Christmas Bureau to get a food voucher and a toy and a book for each of their children often are surprised to find library representatives there, ready to forgive fines.
Dylan Jensen spotted the table after he finished picking out books for his three children and asked to have his fines forgiven.
“It was only $3,” he said. “They took it off. It was easy.”
Friday was his first visit to the Christmas Bureau and he hadn’t known about the fine forgiveness ahead of time.
“It was a great thing,” he said.
He said he was impressed with the bureau overall.
“I thought they had a great book selection,” he said. “I didn’t expect such high-quality books.”
While Jensen only owed a small amount in fines, some people owe much more. Spokane Public Libraries will forgive up to $100 in overdue fines for Christmas Bureau recipients, library assistant Jamila Leone said.
“We can’t do lost book fees,” she said.
The Spokane County Library District will eliminate up to $50 in fines and fees, which can include fees for lost or damaged items, library supervisor Pat Davis said.
“We waived a lot last year,” Davis said. “The first day is always the biggest.”
People also can sign up for a library card from either library system, depending on where they live. The cards give people access to more than books. They’re also used to access free online classes and borrow music and movies.
Davis said she helped one man who got library cards for his four children as an additional Christmas gift.
“It continues to be a gift throughout the year,” she said. “It really is the gift that keeps on giving.”
Friday’s tally of $14,805 has brought the year-to-date total to $217,545.13. The goal is to raise $525,000 to pay for food vouchers, toys and books for those who need help and Christmas is approaching fast.
Affinity at South Hill and the Spokane Regional Plan Center each donated $2,500.
“Since 1994, the Spokane Regional Plan Center and its members have been proud to donate to this most worthy cause,” board chair Harry Cashman wrote. “We hope all those in the community that are considering a donation keep in mind the families and children these donations benefit. They are not faceless causes thousands of miles away, but rather our own neighbors. All one needs to do is read the paper each day to see that the needs of those in our community are great; and every donation is vital for the Christmas fund to meet their goal of providing a happy holiday for those less fortunate.”
Sally and Tim Quirk, of Spokane, donated $1,000 “in memory of Toddy Edmonds; a loving husband, super dad and cherished son.”
An anonymous Spokane donor gave $800. An anonymous donor gave $500 via PayPal. Ryan Baddeley and Imelda Patterson each donated $500 via PayPal.
Debbie and James Repp, of Spokane Valley, donated $400. “Just a little something for those less fortunate this time of year,” they wrote. “Thanks for all that you do. Happy holidays to all.” Pam and Joe Ridlington, of Mead, contributed $400. “Merry Christmas to all,” they wrote.
Bill and Dorene Reynolds, of Spokane, gave $300. “Thank you for all you do for our community,” they wrote.
Divcon Inc. contributed $270 on behalf of employees John Jessen and Andy Wedde. “Divcon Inc. and some of our employees want to say Merry Christmas to Spokane,” company president Shane Miller wrote. “Each of our employees can donate to the charity of their choice and Divcon matches double their individual donations. As a Spokane general contractor we appreciate your support of local families.”
James Carollo, of Spokane, donated $250 in memory of his wife, Nola Carollo, who died this year. “She really believed in your good work and I volunteer at the bureau myself,” he wrote. “Truly a great cause. Thanks to the SR for all you do.” Daryl and Linda Alvernaz, of Spokane, gave $250. Jeremy Heimbigner and William Siems, both of Spokane, each gave $250 via PayPal.
Christine Carroll, of Spokane, contributed $250. “Christmas is a season of joy, happiness, excitement and anticipation,” she wrote. “It is also a time of reflection. Many in our community are not as fortunate as I am. May this small gift help to bring some happiness to someone in need.”
Andre and Kathy LaSalle, of Spokane, donated $250. Paul Grubb, of Spokane, contributed $210 via PayPal.
An anonymous Spokane donor gave $200. Jon and Judy Scott sent $200. Barbara Augusta, of Spokane, donated $200. Darlene Holliday contributed $200.
Scott and Connie Brunell, of Spangle, contributed $150. An anonymous Spokane donor sent $150. Julie Ohlund, of Spokane, gave $150 via PayPal.
Greg and Samara Menzel, of Spokane, gave $100 “instead of family gifts.” Bette and Richard Brightman contributed $100. Two anonymous Spokane donors each sent $100. John and Dolores Skelton, of Spokane, donated $100. Raymond Zimmerman and Erin O’Halloran-Foerg each contributed $100 via PayPal. Barry Bergau, of Spokane, gave $100 in the name of Debbie Montgomery as part of his family’s Christmas gift exchange.
Doug and Sandra Faulkner, of Spokane, donated $100. “Merry Christmas,” they wrote. “Thanks for what you do.” Ralph Laws, of Cheney, gave $100 in memory of his father, Ralph Laws, who was wounded in France 100 years ago in October 1918 during World War I. John Cooper, of Spokane Valley, sent $100 via PayPal. J. Chalich, of Spokane, contributed $100.
Cindi and Raland John gave $100. “Once again we are happy to be able to contribute to the S-R Christmas fund,” they wrote. “Thank you for the work that you do so that others may have a Merry Christmas.” Bill Smith, of Newport, Washington, contributed $100. Julie Silliman and Annalie Evans, both of Spokane, each donated $100 via PayPal.
Carol Stolp, of Spokane Valley, donated $50 in honor of her father, Lanny Stolp. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $50, writing “Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.” Gary Fiscus, of Liberty Lake, contributed $50, as did Kent Richardson, of Spokane. Peter and Beth Weller, of Spokane Valley, sent $50. “Thank you bureau for all you do!” they wrote.
Faith Totten, of Spokane, donated $50 via PayPal “in memory of Frank the Pug who brought years of joy to the family and will always have a special place in our heart.”
Jennifer Calvert gave $50 via PayPal. Ann Carey and Patty Rabel, of Spokane Valley, donated $50. “Please accept this donation – our 21st – in memory of our parents Ken and Mickey Rabel,” they wrote. Edward and Susan Leach, of Coeur d’Alene, gave $50.
Karen and Kelly Ryan, of Spokane, gave $30 in memory of Pat Ryan.
Joyce Thompson, of Spokane, contributed $25. JoAnn Peterschick, of Spokane, donated $25 via PayPal. An anonymous Spokane donor sent $25, writing “Hope this little bit helps.”
Margaret Haines, of Spokane, gave $20. “I am giving this year because my friend is a cancer survivor,” she wrote. “Last year was a hard Xmas for her and her friends. Joy this year! Merry Xmas.”
For donations made through PayPal, The Spokesman-Review contributed the processing fee.