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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Christmas Bureau hopes to find sponsor to preserve the gift of a book for every child

"Iv'e been doing this for 34 years" said Marilee Roloff as she sorts through boxes of books at The Christmas Bureau at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)
"Iv'e been doing this for 34 years" said Marilee Roloff as she sorts through boxes of books at The Christmas Bureau at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Volunteers of America spends all year buying about 14,000 books to be given away to children during the Christmas Bureau. They’re for all ages and all tastes, and parents are diligent about picking out a book their child will enjoy.

Need a board book for baby? Check. A science book for the third-grader who wants to be an astronaut? Check. A young adult novel for a tween? Check. An action hero book? Check. A book on animals for the child who wants to be a veterinarian? Check.

The books are funded by donations sent to The Spokesman-Review to fund the Christmas Bureau, but until last year the Volunteers of America also had a sponsor who gave $25,000 a year to buy books. The loss of that sponsor left a hole in the budget, but some local organizations have stepped up to help fill the gap.

“I’ve been looking for literacy partners so we can have enough books for everyone,” said VOA development director Jon Carollo.

CHAS has donated $1,500, and the Junior League of Spokane donated $1,000 and 100 books. Both organizations have a focus on children’s literature, Carollo said. CHAS participates in Reach Out and Read, a literacy program, and Junior League has been focused on improving childhood literacy in Spokane.

Another local company, MovHer, volunteered to take all the books the VOA purchased this year from storage and bring them to the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center in preparation for the Christmas Bureau for free, Carollo said.

Though the VOA has been able to replace some of the lost sponsorship money, more is needed. Carollo said he’s hopeful they can find more sponsors in time for next year’s Bureau. “Whenever it comes to the Christmas Bureau, we’re always looking for sponsors,” he said.

Anyone interested in finding out more information about becoming a Christmas Bureau book sponsor can contact the VOA at (509) 624-2378.


There are fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, and donations continue to be slow to arrive. The amount needed to fund the Christmas Bureau this year is $535,000, enough to provide a book and a toy to each child and a food voucher to each family. New donations of $9,698 have brought the year-to-date total to $146,412.59.

Cecil Nuxoll, of Spokane, donated $2,500, writing “In my 100 years (old) on this earth I still see the kindness in people’s hearts. Merry Christmas.”

The Fosseen Foundation gave $1,500. “On behalf of the Fosseen Foundation in the name of Randy and Sharon Fosseen, I am happy to be able to again send The Spokesman-Review Christmas Bureau a check for $1,500 to help make this Christmas a bit brighter for those families who, for various reasons, are underserved in our community,” wrote Sharon Fosseen.

Bill and Sharon Bronson, of Spokane, gave $1,000. Mike and Carol Wilson donated $500. “We wish a Merry Christmas and a hopeful new year to those who benefit from this wonderful community fund,” they wrote.

Burma and Richard Williams, of Spokane, donated $300. “We just mailed a check for $300 and then we saw the article in the paper that discussed the impact the 25 percent tariff has had on the toy purchases,” they wrote. “In light of that, we are doubling what we are giving, adding another $300. We hope others who can afford it will increase their giving to make sure the Christmas Bureau has enough money to cover the costs of this wonderful program. We are so thankful that we are able to donate extra money. How nice it would be if you were able to use this money for purchases and not for tariffs.”

Ralph and Deb Prouty, of Spokane, gave $300. James Repp, of Spokane Valley, sent $250. An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $250. Linda Taylor gave $250. “Please accept my donation in honor of my husband who I lost in September of this year (Mike Taylor),” she wrote. “I hope it helps make a better Christmas for a deserving family.”

Murlaine and Brian Steckler, of Spokane, sent $200. “Please accept the attached contribution of $200 in memory of our mother, Johnnie L. Anderson, who recently passed away at the age of 90 years,” they wrote. “Johnnie was a generous woman and would be proud to learn that this support was given to you on her behalf. Thank you for your continued work to this extremely worthy cause.”

Carol and Cliff Rankin, of Spokane, donated $200, as did Valerie and Michael Adams, of Spokane. Kenneth Hill contributed $200 via PayPal.

Cynthia Miles, of Spokane Valley, gave $100 as did W.H. Selzer, of Spokane. Melia Langdon, of Cheney, Robert House and Raymond Zimmerman, of Spokane, and Raymond Schulte each donated $100 via PayPal.

Donna Isaak, of Spokane, sent $100 “In loving memory of Leona and Emil Isaak.” Chuck and Donna Pierce, of Cheney, contributed $100. Gail and Dave DeRoshia, of Spokane, donated $100. “Thank you so much for all you do for those in need,” they wrote. “We wish each and every volunteer a very Merry Christmas!”

Gary and Andrea Gunning, of Spokane, sent $100. “Thank you for all that you do,” they wrote. “Merry Christmas!” Kathleen Huggins, of Spokane, donated $100, as did two anonymous donors. Marilyn and John Miller, of Spokane Valley, gave $100. Patricia Wachter, of Spokane, Henry Greer and Sherry Robinson, of Spokane Valley, each gave $100 via PayPal.

Kate and Jim Jones, of Spokane, sent $50. Judy and Chuck Smith, of Spokane, gave $50 via PayPal. Mary Ellen and Charles Steen, of Liberty Lake, donated $50. John Jordon, of Spokane, contributed $50. Cathleen Walker contributed $50 via PayPal.

Bruce Kerwin sent $33 via PayPal. Lawrence Smith, of Spokane, gave $25, as did an anonymous Spokane donor. Alan and Carolyn Fisher contributed $10. Judith Horton, of Coeur d’Alene, donated $5.

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