It’s a Christmas miracle.
The Christmas Fund was lagging more than $100,000 short of goal on Christmas Eve and some despaired about bringing in enough money to pay for all the food, toys and gifts handed out the Christmas Bureau this year.
But the greater Spokane community rallied in a huge way to donate an astonishing $99,723.35 over the weekend to bring the year-to-date total to $521,369.56, just a hair’s breadth away from the final goal of $525,000.
The fund received a big shot in the arm from Travis Pattern and Foundry in Spokane, who sent a check for $35,000.
“The owners and employees of Travis Pattern and Foundry again wish to donate the funds that we would have spent on a Christmas party to your fund,” wrote company president Travis Garske. “We are very pleased to enclose a check in the amount of $35,000. We hope we can help make Christmas a little brighter for some Spokane families. We wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a great new year in 2019.”
The generous gifts of Travis Pattern and Foundry and so many others made this year’s Christmas Bureau possible in the face of greater need. The bureau served 8,561 households, which included 13,112 adults and 16,451 children, which is up quite a bit from last year.
The numbers also showed a few surprises. A total of 2,202 of those homes did not have any children living there, but 92 homes had seven or more children living under one roof. Three of those homes had 11 children.
Families are asked to report their income, though the information is not verified. The families using the bureau reported an average monthly income of $1,473.
“You don’t know how they do it,” said Catholic Charities Christmas Bureau Coordinator Sierra Heinen. “It hurts to hear those numbers. You don’t know how they feed their kids.”
Heinen said the volunteers talked to quite a few two-parent families who try to make ends meet on one paycheck because child care is so expensive it doesn’t make financial sense for the second parent to work. Other recipients are living on a fixed income and trying to make their dollars stretch to cover simple things like Christmas cookies.
“There are so many emotional stories,” Heinen said.
There’s still a small amount of money to raise, but donation deadlines are approaching. PayPal donations must be received by Wednesday in order to allow time for processing. Donations sent in the mail need to arrive by Friday and donations can be dropped off in The Spokesman-Review lobby until Friday morning.
Merry Christmas, Spokane, and thank you.
The biggest boost to the fund came from a $35,000 donation by Travis Pattern and Foundry, plus there was a donation of $10,000 from James P. Cowles. Ibex Flooring sent $5,500.
Acme Concrete Paving of Spokane contributed $5,000. The Klaue Family Foundation of Spokane gave $5,000. “The foundation is once again blessed to be able to contribute to the Christmas Fund,” wrote David Klaue. “We are very thankful to be able to contribute and be a part of a program that brings joy, brightness and many blessings to the families and organizations in need.
“The spirit and generosity of the Spokane community has helped many families experience the true meaning of Christmas. The benevolent providence and gift of giving to assist those less fortunate is rewarding, especially in these unprecedented economic times.”
Donald Rockstrom gave $2,000. Colvico Inc. of Spokane sent $2,000. Jean Moore gave $1,500 via PayPal.
Jason Seier of Spokane donated $1,000 via PayPal, as did Glenn Breen of Goodyear, Arizona. Kevin and Donna Sweeny of Spokane sent $1,000. Harold Andersen of Spokane gave $1,000 via PayPal. The Olson Family of Cheney contributed $1,000.
“Two sisters” gave $1,000 “in memory of mom, dad, Peggy, Craig and Rick.” An anonymous donor sent $1,000.
Jennifer Wengeler gave $750.
The employees of the School Support Services of Spokane Public Schools donated $703. “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. Your efforts to bring a ray of happiness to others each Christmas is a tremendous opportunity for our community come together and help our neighbors.”
Matt and Keirsten Lyons donated $500. “Thank you for keeping the spirit of giving and generosity in this season every year – we gratefully contribute this year in honor and memory of my parents, Rolf and Dolores, who are together again (in heaven) for the first time in five years.”
Susan and George LeBlanc of Moses Lake contributed $500. The Brunke family of Cheney gave $500. R&R Heating and Air Conditioning sent $500 via PayPal. Frederick and Sharon Clark of Chattaroy donated $500. James Sledge Jr. gave $500. Larry Smallfoot of Spokane gave $500 via PayPal, as did John Parker. Tek Manufacturing Inc. of Spokane Valley gave $500.
The Wagner family of Spokane contributed $500. Michael Wiser donated $500 via PayPal, as did Allan Scruggs. Diana and Russell Williams of Spokane Valley sent $500. Gretchen and Sean LaSalle of Spokane gave $500 via PayPal. Roger and Kathleen Chase sent $500. Robert Arnold of Deer Park contributed $500.
Paul Jalufka sent $400 via PayPal, as did Sara Weaver-Lundberg. Mabel and Claude Mitson of Spokane Valley gave $400.
Russell Cornell of Nashville, Tennessee, gave $300 via Pay Pal, writing “Merry Christmas Duke and Sue Cornell and Ardith Devine.” Dennis Hughes of Deer Park donated $300. An anonymous Spokane donor sent $300.
Michael, Jennifer and Julie Hay of Spokane contributed $300 “in memory of our parents, Rev. John and Marj Hay. Thank you all for the wonder you all spread over our city. Many thanks and Merry Christmas.” James Bankston of Spokane gave $300.
Dianne Clark of Spokane Valley gave $300 “in memory of my husband Ron, his employer and friend, Don Herak, and Father Frank Bach, who is everything a priest should be. Thanks to all the volunteers who make is work.”
Colleen and Greg Stevens of Spokane sent $300, as did Linda and William Greene of Spokane. Maryanne Cooley of Cheney gave $300.
Chris and Christine Ashenbrener of Spokane donated $300 “to help brighten Christmas for others in honor of our grandchildren Anna, Evan, Eric, Quinley and Josie.”
Keith and Julie Western of Spokane donated $250. Dan and Kristen Edgar gave $250 via PayPal. “We are a millennial couple who enjoy the print edition of the Spokesman and hope to help bring some Christmas cheer to those in need,” they wrote.
Lou and Mary Haymond of Nine Mile Falls sent $250. Robert Lemoine contributed $250 via PayPal. Doreen and David Forest of Deer Meadows, Washington, donated $250 in memory of Eileen “Mouse” Costello.
An anonymous Spokane donor sent $250 via PayPal. Roberto and Lauri Seghetti of Spokane gave $250. The Bloom’n Dollys Red Hat Group donated $225 in honor of Annette Brooks.
Carolyn Bleeker donated $200 in memory of Wally and Luella Dow. “Thank you so much for all you do!” she wrote. “I hope to volunteer with you one day.” An anonymous donor gave $200. Rick and Frankie White gave $200 via PayPal.
Jody and Bill Franks sent $200 via PayPal “in collaboration with our four grandchildren; Landon, Brooklyn, Regan and Rowan, and have a Merry Christmas.” Charles Carrier of Spokane contributed $200 via PayPal, as did Michael Henneberry. Michael McGuire sent $200 via PayPal.
Donna and Marilee Roloff gave $200, writing “Volunteering at the Christmas Bureau has brought my mother and I great joy over many years. Thank you to everyone who makes the bureau such an incredible event.” Vincent and Heidi Cherel of Spokane sent $200.
Randall and Laura Pflugard of Spokane donated $200. Kathryn McKinley sent $200 via PayPal, as did an anonymous donor. Dennis and Barb Bunkers of Spokane gave $200, as did Kristine and Michael Anderson of Nine Mile Falls. Jennifer Brandt of Greenacres contributed $200.
Judy Crabb of Cheney gave $200. Skip and Michele White of Spokane Valley donated $200. Robert and Donna Syron of Clayton, Washington, contributed $200. Shelley O’Rourke and Robin Gavelin donated $200, as did Mary Giannini.
Timothy Devlin gave $170 via PayPal. Jesse Zumbro of Spokane donated $150 via PayPal. Christopher and Karen Sherfey of Spokane sent $150. David Kappers of Spokane gave $150.
Scott McGann of Spokane contributed $150. “After reading donations were down this year, while the need is greater than ever, we pulled money out of our family Christmas present budget to help those in need have a Merry Christmas,” he wrote. “Thanks for all that you do.”
Mike and Rose Lemberger of Spokane donated $125. Carol and Bill Voogd of Spokane contributed $125. “Enclosed is a small donations to help continue the work of the Christmas Bureau,” they wrote. “We both work there several days each year and love to see everyone who visits going happy and thankful for the support the Bureau provides them.”
Chris Powell and Ruth Reynolds of Spokane gave $115.
The Fab Five contributed $100. “We are a group of five women who have been friends for 40+ years,” they wrote. “We are a sisterhood of friends. The year of 2018 was overall a good one for us even though we had a few tough situations. We 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 contributed $100 to your fund to help others. May this help others going through a tough time be blessed and their spirits lifted.”
Gary Ullrich contributed $100 in honor of his mother, Virginia Ullrich. An anonymous Deer Park donor sent $100. Alexis Nelson and John Downey of Spokane gave $100. Kim Hagerty and David Saraceno gave $100 “in memory of a father and a brother.” An anonymous donor gave $100.
Tracey McHenry and Brian Donahue gave $100 via PayPal. “Thank you for being a light in the darkness,” they wrote. An anonymous Spokane donor sent $100. Dave Paul of Post Falls donated $100 via PayPal. “We hope this helps some,” he wrote. “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thanks to all who help the Christmas Fund.”
Joe and Ann Smith of Spokane donated $100 via PayPal “in memory of Judy Shillam-Veltri, our dear Aunt.” Tony and Mary Madunich of Mead gave $100. Jan and Ed Bryan of Loon Lake, Washington, contributed $100. William and Karen Mahar of Spokane sent $100. Charles and Janet Hafner of Spokane Valley donated $100.
The Men’s Wednesday AM Group at St. Luke Lutheran Church sent $100. John and Marcia Magnuson of Spokane donated $100, as did Robert Harris of Spokane Valley. Patti Vincent of Spokane gave $100 in memory of her friend, Nancy Techel. “Thank you for all the hard work and joy you bring!” she wrote.
Charlotte Yocum sent $100, as did John and Karen Wallingford of Spokane. An anonymous donor gave $100 via Pay Pal in the name of Marian Brown, “to thank all at the Bureau who put goodness into our world.” Erlinda Fry contributed $100.
Michael and Terri Hogue gave $100 via PayPal. “Happy holidays to all,” they wrote. Robert and Susan Anselmo of Spokane donated $100. Patricia Plummer and Melody Eddy of Reardan, Washington, sent $100. JoAnn and David Savage of Mead gave $100. “Thanks to you all for making this special community event possible,” they wrote.
The following people each donated $100 via PayPal: Charlotte Cochran, Gilbert Rossing of Spokane, Steven Morehouse, Kathleen Barr and James Braukmann. Tom and Jessie Latimer of Spokane gave $100. An anonymous donor sent $100 in memory of Glenn Sullivan.
Sherri Robinson and Stephen Ross of Spokane Valley donated $100. “Our family has been blessed and we want to share our joy with others (who) need help and let them know people do care,” they wrote.
Gratia Hasness of Chattaroy gave $100 in honor of Terry and Paul Giordanella “who are so generous and caring of others.” William and Karen Davis of Spokane sent $100. “Thanks for all you do for those in need,” they wrote.
An anonymous Spokane donor gave $100 in memory of Nancy Techel. Madeline Kardong of Spokane donated $100. “Thanks for all the good you do!” she wrote. Jack and Mary Murphy of Spokane sent $100 “in honor of Tom and Laurie Connelly for a wonderful 40 year friendship. Thanks to all for a great job and the happiness you bring to all.”
An anonymous Colbert donor gave $100, writing “Blessings to you kind-hearted and generous souls. Thank you for all that you do to help make this a wonderful Christmas.”
Darla Malone of Hayden, Idaho, sent $75 for “my mother Maxine Malone and in memory of my father, Richard B. Malone.”
Stacey Nash-Toulou gave $60 via PayPal. “Stacey, Joey and Davian from Wilbur hope this small donation helps somebody have a Merry Christmas,” she wrote.
An anonymous donor gave $60. Another anonymous donor gave $50 via PayPal, writing “In honor of my brother, who requested that if I wanted to give him a birthday gift, a donation to charity would be preferred!”
Virginia Czechowski of Spokane gave $50 in memory of Daun Czechowski “who passed away too soon. It will be a sad holiday without her.” Nancy Kuch contributed $50 via PayPal. Arthur and Barbara Sanchez sent $50. Ralph Walter donated $50 via PayPal in memory of Carol Walter.
An anonymous donor contributed $50 via Pay Pal, writing “thank you to all the volunteers and the Spokesman for all your effort and hard work serving our community.” J. Ronald Dunsmore sent $50 via PayPal. Eloise Cappellano, Jane Courtright and Virginia Pearsall, all of Spokane, each donated $50.
Scott, Lisa and Madeline Ray of Spokane Valley sent $50 via PayPal. An anonymous donor from Loon Lake, Washington, gave $50. Pat Ferrell donated $50 via PayPal. “Thank you for all that you do for those in need in our community,” he wrote.
David and Pam Sani of Spokane donated $50 “in memory of our parents, who loved the holidays.” Robert Marshall gave $50 via PayPal, as did June Lawson. Linda Leyde of Spokane sent $50.
Linda and Pat Smith of Spokane gave $50. “Thank you so much for the service you provide for this community,” they wrote. An anonymous Spokane donor sent $50, writing “Thank you for the wonderful service you provide for our community.”
Julia Carrell of Spokane donated $50 via PayPal. “This donation is memory of Bruce Bailey and Florence M. Dobler and all the lives that were brightened by their presence.” Lorri Barry contributed $50 via PayPal.
Nancy Hood of Spokane Valley donated $50. “Thanks for bringing our community together every year,” she wrote. Lee Chaney of Spokane sent $50, as did Barbara and Gregg Pryde of Spokane. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $50.
Kent and Sharon Ohland of Spokane Valley gave $50 in honor of their late parents, Russ and Helen Inman and Vern and Jeri Ohland. “They all loved the Christmas season and would enjoy knowing the funds will go to make someone’s Christmas special,” they wrote. “Thank you for carrying on a such a special tradition.”
Elizabeth Carlson of Spokane donated $40. Muriel Cleveland of Mead sent $39.35. Vickie Warren gave $35 via PayPal.
John White donated $30 via PayPal, as did Bonnie Wakefield of Spokane. David Moody contributed $30 via PayPal.
Dianne Cook of Spokane donated $25. “Sent with enormous gratitude and thanks for all the dedicated volunteers,” she wrote. “It is lovely to see the teamwork with The Spokesman-Review in action every Christmas. Many families will have a happier holiday because you care.”
Warren and Joni Omans of Otis Orchards gave $25. Jeri McGuire gave $25 via PayPal. Jane Lacock of Deer Park sent $25. Helen Foster of Spokane contributed $25.
Twila Fae Little of Coeur d’Alene donated $25. “Thank you for faithfully organizing and implementing this annual Christmas Fund for the needy in our community,” she wrote. “It will bless the hearts of many and sets a loving example for the next generations to follow. God bless you.”
Glenn and Janet Gannon of Spokane Valley donated $20. Steph Zoldak of Spokane gave $20 in memory of her parents, Bette and Stephen Zoldak, and her cousin, Barbara Gross. “Thank you Christmas Fund!” she wrote. “This is what it’s about!”
Susan Grief of Loon Lake, Washington, sent $15. “Yes, at any time disaster can strike,” she wrote. “Thanks for helping so many.”
Dorothy Carter of Spokane gave $10. Janice Anderson contributed $10 via PayPal. An anonymous donor gave $1.
For donations made through Pay Pal, The Spokesman-Review contributed the processing fee.
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