The saying is that it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to provide Christmas toys and books to thousands of children at the Christmas Bureau every year.
The effort to provide food, toys and books to needy families is organized by Catholic Charities, the Volunteers of America and The Spokesman-Review, but it doesn’t stop there. A long list of local businesses provides support and in-kind donations that keep things running during the nine days the Bureau is open at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, from Dec. 11-20 (excluding Sunday, Dec. 15).
“Without these donors from the community, it would be hard to run the event,” said Christmas Bureau Coordinator Sierra Heinen. “They’re really the fuel that drives the machine, other than the volunteers.”
The businesses do everything, including storing store toys during the year, helping set up the Bureau and feeding the volunteers every day. Many have been offering their support for years.
Cravens Coffee Co. provides coffee and cups for the volunteers during the nine days the Bureau is open and two days of setup. URM donates coffee and cups for Christmas Bureau recipients.
Rosauers provides donuts for the volunteers each morning and Fred Meyer donated a pallet of water for the volunteers. The Arby’s restaurant at 10407 E. Sprague, owned by Dave McGann, brings lunch for dozens of volunteers every day the Bureau is open. Luigi’s Restaurant brings baked ziti to feed the volunteers on one setup day, and Pizza Pipeline provides discounted pizza for the other setup day.
Jim Custer Enterprises teams up with Lilac City-LCD Exposition Services to set up the piping and draping and organize the layout of the Bureau. Costco donates carts that are used to move toys around, and Bunzl provides bags for toy bagging. Earthworks Recycling brings in recycling bins and empties them when necessary.
The Spokane Chiefs bring in thousands of teddy bears and other stuffed animals from their annual Teddy Bear Toss night and Central Valley High School also collects stuffed animals for the Bureau. St. Mary’s Catholic School, St. John Vianney Catholic School and Providence Health Care collect pajamas to be distributed at the Bureau. St. Vincent de Paul collects pairs of gloves that are given to single adult recipients.
Hoffman Music Co. provides entertainment equipment that singers and musicians use to perform live music every day that the Bureau is open. A To Z Rental provides a discounted stage rental for the musical entertainment.
Penske Truck Rental provides trucks to move supplies. Parsons Construction Co. also provides trucks as well as volunteer labor to help setup and tear-down. ABC Mini Storage donates storage space year-round.
The goal of reaching $535,000 to fully fund the Christmas Bureau is still a long way away, but Christmas is getting closer by the day. New donations of $5,805 have brought the year-to-date total to $136,714.59.
Gail and Roberta Keeling gave $1,000. “Honoring our family and our three grandsons, we send this check to help those less fortunate,” they wrote. “We are blessed.”
Scott and Shannon Sevigny donated $800, writing, “We’re making our donation this year in memory of my mom, Marla. She loved the holidays, especially Christmas. I know it would make her happy to make Christmas better for children and their families. Thank you for all you do.”
Johnny Engleman of Spokane donated $750. Tyrone, Jessica, Quetin, Merilee and Bill Dinneen gave $500. Rhea Dow contributed $500. Andre and Kathy LaSalle of Spokane donated $250.
An anonymous donor gave $200, writing, “Your generous efforts towards the needy in our community this time of the year are so very appreciated. We are happy this donation will help toward that goal.” Jerry and Mary Anne Littlemore of Spokane donated $200. “Please accept our check for $200 to help others in need this Christmas season,” they wrote. “You have helped so many throughout the many years.”
Dave and Mary Larsen of Spokane gave $200, as did Lois Richards of Spokane. Joyce and James Stefanoff of Spokane sent $125.
Leland and Julie Fish of Spokane gave $100. “Thanks for your work and dedication to help those in need,” they wrote. M.K. Yurik-Clemons of Spokane donated $100, writing, “Please accept this gift in memory of my deceased son, Paul Yurik.” Steve and Beth Kenney of Spokane Valley contributed $100, as did Nelson and Nancy Heisey of Spokane.
Harriet Plucker of Spokane gave $100. “This year the Plucker family contribution comes in memory of my husband, Bill Plucker,” she wrote. “This was always one of his favorite holiday gifts to make.”
Fred and Lianne Inaba of Pullman sent $100. “Thank you for the work you do to help those in need,” they wrote. “We live in Pullman, but we would like to donate to your cause.” Fred and Gayle Fox sent $100 and a short note that read, “Thank you for all you do!”
Stevan and Beverly Booras of Spokane donated $100. An anonymous Spokane Valley donor gave $100, writing, “Thank you for all you do.”
David and Audrey Nemitz of Spokane Valley contributed $50. Richard and Alice Gingrich of Spokane donated $50. “This gift is in loving memory of our sister, Pearl Wilson,” they wrote. “She was always happiest when she was doing for others.”
Sherryl Niska of Spokane gave $30. Eric Worden of Spokane sent $25, as did Gordon Landberg of Spokane Valley.
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