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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Parents grateful for Christmas toys for their children

Tuesday’s weather started out dreadful but that didn’t deter people from coming to the Christmas Bureau at the Spokane County Fairgrounds to get a food voucher, and gifts and books for their children.

Monika Martell brought two of her four children with her to the bureau while her husband worked. “We’re a single-income family,” she said. “We have to stretch.”

She was accompanied by 3-month-old daughter Maddilynn while she selected toys. Her 3-year-old son Blake was in the bureau’s child care area so the Christmas surprise would not be spoiled.

Martell said she was hoping to find Legos, building blocks and race cars, which her children enjoy. She said she’s visited the bureau once before, and found herself back this year.

“It was a really hard year,” she said. “We moved and had a baby. We just had a lot of health surprises, bill surprises. It’s just been chaos this year.”

She was appreciative the Spokane County Library District was there to forgive a lost book fee and that she could get a food voucher that she plans to use for a nice Christmas day breakfast for her family.

“They just have the coolest stuff,” she said of the bureau. “It’s a blessing. It’s a huge relief to know that they’ll have something nice.”

Norma Lopez was there to find gifts for her two young children as she struggles with a budget with no room for extras. “I’m working but I don’t have enough money to buy presents,” she said.

She selected an animated alarm clock for her daughter that came bundled with a stuffed purple unicorn with wings. “She loves unicorns,” Lopez said. “She’s going to love it.”

Lopez said the food voucher also will help her a lot, and she’s grateful the bureau helped her with Christmas gifts for her children. “It’s everything,” she said. “I don’t have to worry.”


New donations have slowed again, with $10,715 arriving to bump the year-to-date total to $291,251. That’s only a little more than halfway to the goal of $525,000, and time to fully fund the Christmas Bureau is growing short.

William and Mary Murphy, of Spokane, donated $1,500. Randy and Sharon Fosseen gave $1,000. “I am happy to be able to again send The Spokesman-Review Christmas Bureau a check for $1,000 to help make this Christmas a bit brighter for those families who, for various reasons, are underserved in our community,” Sharon Fosseen wrote. “We are drawn to the fund for the obvious reasons but also because of the passion of and in honor of Brigid Kraus, who has made this her mission each year and gives her all to make sure that nobody goes away empty-handed. Thanks for making this season a bit happier for all the people you serve.”

An anonymous Liberty Lake donor gave $1,000 in memory of her husband and daughter. “Thank you to all your volunteers,” she wrote. “Merry Christmas to everyone and a very happy new year.”

Jeff and Kim Brown, of Mead, gave $500 in memory of Carol Motschenbacher, “whom we miss every day.” Spokane Production Service sent $500. Anita Lamp, of Spokane, donated $500 “in memory of my husband Robert and other members of the Lamp family who have gone before us.”

Wilbur Yates, of Spokane, contributed $475. Gladys Rivers, of Spokane, gave $300. William and Nancy Henry, of Spokane, gave $300 in memory of their parents, Bo and Mary Henry and Robert and Marian Heglar.

Don and Liz Wilson, of Spokane, contributed $250. An anonymous Valleyford donor sent $250 in memory of Don and Lois Johnson and Devin. The Law Office of Roger J. Peven gave $250. Sandra Fruetel,` of Mead, gave $250 in memory of her husband. “Thank you for all you do,” she wrote

Dan and Scooter Mahoney, of Spokane, donated $250. “Thank you for everything you do to make the lives of children better,” they wrote. “Providing toys, books and grocery vouchers to families, especially at this time of year, is a beautiful thing to do! And a special “Thank you” to all of the wonderful volunteers who give so much of their time and energy to make this happen. It is our pleasure to be able to contribute to this wonderful cause.”

Ellen Krehbiel and Jeff Wasson, of Colbert, sent $200. “We are donating in honor of our two families so others might have a brighter holiday,” they wrote. Jana McKnight, of Greenacres, gave $200 in memory of C.A. Burris.

An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $150. The students in the homeroom class of University High School language arts teacher Rob Paukert came together to donate $140. “We all appreciate what the Christmas Fund does for so many,” they wrote. “Merry Christmas.”

Meredith and Leslie Hilby, of Liberty Lake, sent $125. Tony and Patricia Fulgaro, of Spokane, donated $100. Lola and Richard Lile, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of Ellen and Robert Houx. An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $100, writing, “Thank you for your wonderful work. Merry Christmas.”

Andrea and Gary Gunning, of Spokane, donated $100. “Thank you for all that you do,” they wrote. An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $100. Larry and Barbara Tobin, of Spokane, gave $100, as did Bob and Jeanne Dault, of Spokane. Bob and Louise Hall, of Spokane, sent $100, writing, “Keep up the good work! Merry Christmas.”

Beryle Thomas and Barbara Traynor, both of Spokane, each contributed $100. Janice Holcomb, of Mead, donated $100. “In lieu of gifts for my grandchildren and my great niece and nephews, I am sending this check to make other children’s Christmas a little brighter,” she wrote. “My family is extremely blessed and very well taken care of.”

Thomas and Carol Bellinger, of Spokane, gave $100, as did Bob and Kathy Bohlen, of Spokane. George and Sula Potter, of Spokane, donated $100, as did Elizabeth and Steven Hitch, of Spokane.

The St. Mary Pinochle Group donated $75.

Mike Prager, of Spokane, gave $50. “Keep up the good work,” he wrote. An anonymous Mead donor sent $50, writing, “Thank you for what you do! Merry Christmas!” Gerry Rose, of Spokane, gave $50 in memory of her husband, Arlen Rose, and sister, Shirley Staebell Scribner. “They both loved Christmas,” she wrote.

Mary and Scott Cooper, of Spokane, donated $50 “in memory of Nicky Cook, who lived a life of service to others.” An anonymous Medical Lake donor gave $50. Lorraine Cannon, of Spokane, contributed $50. “Thanks for all you do!” she wrote.

Dudley Mizoguchi, of Spokane, gave $50 in memory of Jon Allan. Jody Leifer, of Spokane, sent $50 in memory of Chuck and Rae McCain. Barbara Van Leuven, of Spokane, gave $50.

An anonymous Spokane Valley donor gave $25, writing “Bless all of you who put your heart and soul into making this a success.” An anonymous Spokane donor sent $25.

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

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