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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Christmas Bureau closing, but donations still sorely needed

Jaxson Kozak hugs his new dolphin at the Christmas Bureau in this photo from last year. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
Jaxson Kozak hugs his new dolphin at the Christmas Bureau in this photo from last year. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

The doors of the Christmas Bureau are almost ready to close. The piles of toys and teddy bears are much smaller, but there is still plenty left for the last day today. There are even pajamas left, thanks to a big surge in pajama donations this year.

The bureau gives out a food voucher to families in need along with a toy and a book for each child.

Joie Deerheim was there to get gifts for her 5-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. Her husband works while she stays home with the kids, and after the bills are paid there’s just not much left for Christmas, she said.

“It’s always nice to get the extra help,” she said. “It definitely helps keep the spirit alive. It makes things less stressful.”

She picked out a child-sized picnic table for her son and was looking for something with Legos for her daughter. “She’s really big into Legos,” she said.

James Carson was searching for gifts for his two children and his nephew, who lives with him. His wife just had surgery and he’s on light duty after missing some work because of an injury a few months ago, so money is tight.

“I just needed help,” he said. “They’ve always been here. They’ve always helped.”

He appreciates the help the bureau gives and said it helps restore his faith in people. “It’s nice,” he said.


Donations continue to lag significantly behind their usual pace toward meeting the goal of raising $525,000 from the community to fund the Christmas Bureau. New donations of $24,564 have brought the year-to-date total to $342,626.13.

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $10,100, writing, “Thank you to all the volunteers and donors who are able, through the Christmas Bureau, to make Christmas possible for so many in our community. Blessings and Merry Christmas.”

John Baumhofer of Spokane donated $2,000 in memory of his mother and great aunt, “two strong and compassionate women who recognized the importance of family.”

An anonymous Spokane Valley donor gave $1,200 “in loving memory of our parents.”

Carol and Rich Hendershot of Spokane donated $1,000. “We feel blessed to live in such a generous community and we want to share our blessings with others,” they wrote. Jack and Pat Russell of Spokane gave $1,000. “Thank you for helping us contribute to the people of our community in this season of giving,” they wrote. Justin and Tamie Voelker of Spokane Valley contributed $1,000, as did an anonymous Spokane donor.

Bernice Nelson of Nine Mile Falls contributed $500. “The Christmas Fund was my husband’s favorite charity every year,” she wrote. “In memory of my late husband, Dennis L. Nelson, please continue using our newspaper to help the children and families in need. Thank you.”

Harriet Vanwyck of Spokane donated $500. “It is given in appreciation of the staff at the Rockwood South Hill Retirement Community who take such good care of us,” she wrote. “Thank you for taking care of the children and families in our community.”

Michael Flannery and Dean Lynch of Spokane gave $500. “This, the Christmas Fund, is one of many great things that happen here in Spokane,” they wrote. “Thank you for all the support you provide those in need.” Thomas Tilford of Spokane gave $500 via PayPal in memory of Doug Sonneborn.

Bob and Judy Lee of Sun City West, Arizona, sent $400 in memory of their grandson, Austin McKenzie, parents Ken and Alice Smith and mother, Catherine Lee.

Bud and Luann Petersen of Spokane gave $300. “Merry Christmas!” they wrote. Roofers Local No. 189 contributed $300.

Julie and Tim Tveit of Spokane Valley donated $250. Lloyd and Joye Gill of Spokane donated $210 “to promote peace on Earth.”

James and Dixie Moore of Mead gave $200. George and Joyce Schroeder of Spokane gave $200, as did an anonymous Spokane Valley donor. Bill Molsberry sent $200 via PayPal. The Vogelman family contributed $200 in memory of Mary Lou Bush.

Ethel and Edward Fisk of Spokane Valley gave $150. Dale Soden of Spokane gave $125 via PayPal, as did Jim Kershner of Spokane.

The students of Julie Rose at Riverside Middle School in Chattaroy gave $100. “My students and I would like to celebrate this season of giving by helping others have a brighter Christmas,” Rose wrote. “My class collected and counted $100 of change to make our donation possible. Thank you for doing so much to help others!”

Jerry Robinson of Spokane gave $100. “Volunteering at the Christmas Bureau has been a real blessing for me!” he wrote. Kelly Watson and Dixie Riddle, both of Spokane, each contributed $100. Don and Vicki Gorder of Buckeye, Arizona, sent $100. William and Harriet Plucker of Spokane gave $100.

Kris Spelman of Spokane donated $100 in memory of her grandmother, Violet Burgunder, and great-aunt, Elsie Altin. Brian and Murlaine Steckler of Spokane gave $100 in memory of their parents, William and Frances Steckler and Robert and Johnnie Anderson. “Thank you for your efforts to assist those in need,” they wrote.

John and Jami Koehn of Spokane contributed $100. Daniel and Julie Tylman of Spokane gave $100. “Thank you for helping so many have a brighter Christmas,” they wrote. Drew Bodker of Spokane gave $100, as did Christina Marino and Phillip Jones of Spokane. Diane Helmer of Colbert sent $100. “Thank you for all the wonderful work you do!” she wrote.

The Berger family donated $100 via PayPal “in honor of the long-serving bureau volunteer and incredible role model Don Kelly.” Cindy and Hal Nelson gave $100 via PayPal.

Caryl Lawton of Spokane gave $80, writing, “I’m sending you my mahjong winnings. Thanks for all the good you do for Spokane’s families!” Sue Blankenship of Newman Lake sent $75. Marsha Hansen of Spokane donated $60.

Wilson and Barbara Jacobson of Newport, Washington, donated $50. Carmen Schriock of Spokane sent $50, as did Ed Bishop. Douglas and Marilyn Monson of Spokane Valley gave $50. Larry and Laura Isaak of Deer Park contributed $50.

Marilyn Miller of Spokane gave $50. “Thank you one and all for your efforts to make Christmas a little brighter for so many,” she wrote. Kassia Kain of Spokane gave $50 via PayPal in honor of Brigid and Sierra. Barney and Gloria Shortridge of Deer Park donated $50.

Nancy Kiss of Metaline, Washington, gave $50. An anonymous Liberty Lake donor contributed $50. An anonymous Spokane Valley donor sent $50, writing, “God bless all of you for helping people less fortunate.”

Colleen and Mark Davis of Spokane gave $40 in honor of their parents, Jack and Helen Davis and Patrick and Joan Murphy. “They loved Christmas and the holidays and made sure that our families had many special memories together,” they wrote.

An anonymous Spokane donor sent $25. Bob and Cathy Himes of Spokane gave $25. Ruthie Dearing of Spokane Valley contributed $25. Deborah Carpenter donated $24 via PayPal.

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

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