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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Grateful recipients shop as Christmas Bureau prepares to close today

Anita Alfaro picked up gifts for her 11- and 8-year-old sons at the Christmas Bureau on Thursday. (Nina Culver / The Spokesman-Review)

Today is the last day for recipients to visit the Christmas Bureau and receive a food voucher for their family and a toy and a book for each child. The stacks of toys have shrunk since the Bureau opened, but people stopping by have been grateful to get help creating Christmas memories for their children.

Yusuf Jimenez, a recent transplant from California, was looking for a gift for his 5-year-son.

“I’m new here,” he said. “I’ve been here four months. I just lost my job two weeks ago.”

Jimenez said it was important to him to get a gift for his son. “I just want to contribute something,” he said.

His wife spotted information about the Christmas Bureau on Facebook, and Jimenez was impressed by what he saw.

“They don’t have anything like this in Sacramento,” he said. “It’s beautiful. It’s awesome. This place is such a blessing. Everyone is so nice.”

Anita Alfaro came to get gifts for her and 8- and 11-year-old sons. One of her sons said he wanted Legos, but Alfaro was eying a building set.

“I’m kind of conflicted,” she said. “My oldest likes to build anything.”

She said she found out about the Bureau by accident.

“I picked a friend up from here,” she said, “and she told me all about it.”

The boys’ father has a good job, but after the bills are paid, there’s little left for “fun stuff,” she said. In addition to a book and a toy for each son, she picked out pajamas for them.

“This is a lot,” she said. “It’s really nice. It’s really helpful. This doesn’t happen everywhere.”

Lea Pearce was looking for gifts for her six children, the youngest of whom is 20 months old.

“They’re into all different kinds of things,” she said as she picked out a large doll and a building set.

Pearce said she’d come to the Bureau once before and just needed a little extra help with Christmas this year.

“It means being able to put a few gifts under the tree and teaching my children the story of Christ and his birth,” she said.

She picked out a Fisher Price push shopping cart for her youngest. “He will love that,” she said. “He loves pushing things.”


New donations have dropped significantly, with the addition of $14,820 bringing the year to date total to $335,090.59. The goal this year is to raise $535,000, so there is still $200,000 to go to reach the goal and Christmas is only days away.

All cash and check donations must be received at The Spokesman-Review by Dec. 30 in order to be counted toward this year’s total. PayPal donations must be received by Dec. 26 to allow time for processing.

Jim and Maggie Randall donated $9,000. “Christmas is a very important time for families to be together and enjoy their company,” they wrote. “We are proud to be able to help the Bureau provide this opportunity to those families in need. Thank you for all you do.”

Kile Machine and Manufacturing Inc. in Rosalia, Washington, gave $1,500. James Knight, of Elk, donated $1,000.

An anonymous Spokane donor sent $500, writing, “Please accept our anonymous check for $500 with the hope that it will help brighten the holiday season and provide some joy in the lives of those in need during this special time of year. We thank The Spokesman-Review for providing this fine service to our community.”

The Keith and Kathleen Mackenzie Donor Advised Fund, managed by Schwab Charitable, donated $500. Claude and Mabel Mitson, of Spokane Valley, gave $400.

Timothy and Camille Schmidt, of Valleyford, donated $300. Joe, Joseph and Cobi Guerrinha, of Spokane Valley, gave $300 in memory of Joaquim and Candida Guerrinha.

Jack and Norma Snead, of Spokane, contributed $200. Leslie and Nicholas Zilka, of Liberty Lake, sent $200. “Having volunteered at the Christmas Bureau for five years we have seen firsthand the good you do,” they wrote. “This experience is so heart warming.”

Sandra Fiksdal, of Spokane, gave $150. “Kudos to you for managing this wonderful cause every Christmas season,” she wrote. “It gives me joy to do my small part.”

Nicholas and Donna Zolecki, of Veradale, sent $100. Ronald Deming, of Spokane, gave $100. Donna and Marilee Roloff, of Spokane, donated $100. “We’re making this donation in honor of the book volunteers,” they wrote. Richard and Christy Pospahala, of Spokane, contributed $100.

The Vandervert Family, of Spokane, gave $100. “Thank you for all you do for so many,” they wrote. “In loving memory of Don.” Gale and Dianna Morasch, of Spokane, donated $100. “Thank you for all that you do,” they wrote. “This donation is made to honor the memory of our friend, Jerry Sullivan.”

Susanne Tuson and Marty Beresford, of Colbert, donated $75 “in memory of mom and dad, who continually gave generously to those in need.”

The Baskins contributed $50. Shari Smith and Ann Waltman, of Spokane Valley, gave $25. Kathy Gaiser and Anne Gaiser Pearson, of Spokane, sent $20.