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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A few Santa’s helpers are still needed for the Christmas Bureau

By Nina Culver The Spokesman-Review

Normally, volunteers fill the Christmas Bureau schedule months in advance. But the calendar is proving to be a bit of a challenge this year and volunteers are still needed for the bureau’s final day, which falls on the Friday before Christmas.

This year the bureau is open from Dec. 12 to 21 at the Spokane County Fairgrounds, excluding Saturday, Dec. 16. When the bureau closes at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 21, people are needed to dismantle everything from the tables to the cardboard boxes.

“We’re kind of looking for a group to come help us from 2:30 to 5 on the last day,” Catholic Charities volunteer coordinator Brigid Krause said. “A lot of our volunteers are really tired by then.”

That Friday is the start of a four-day holiday weekend for many. “A lot of people are leaving town,” Krause said. “That’s what’s going to make it so hard.”

Krause is looking for 15 to 20 people to sign up. Volunteers need to carry and lift heavy items. Everything is packed into trucks and then unloaded at a storage facility. “It’s very well coordinated and goes very fast,” Krause said.

Though the tear down starts after the bureau officially closes, there will likely still be people in line when the gates close at 2:30 p.m. The area where recipients are will be the last to be packed up, Krause said.

“We do have to get through the line and the line sometimes goes out to the gate,” she said. “There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes tear down we can do.”

For the first time, the bureau also needs another 10 to 15 people to help out during the hours it is open from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the last day. “The volunteer numbers are down on that day as well,” she said. “The rest of the days are filled up.”

Usually, Christmas Bureau volunteers have to fill out an application ahead of time and go through a background check, Krause said. But the volunteers working on the last day will only have to fill out a one-time volunteer sheet once they arrive at the fairgrounds. However, people to need to call (509) 358-4262 ahead of time to sign up, Krause said.

Volunteers do not have to bring gloves or any other supplies, Krause said. They just need to do some heavy lifting and a lot of walking.

“Just wear your tennis shoes,” she said.

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