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Christmas Bureau donors are responding to this year’s special need

Janie Parker-Slater sets up dolls in the toy room for the Spokesman-Review Christmas Bureau, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2019, at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center. The traditional toy distribution was replaced with a voucher system this year because of challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.   (DAN PELLE)
Janie Parker-Slater sets up dolls in the toy room for the Spokesman-Review Christmas Bureau, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2019, at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center. The traditional toy distribution was replaced with a voucher system this year because of challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.  (DAN PELLE)
By Nina Culver The Spokesman-Review

The community has heard and is responding to the plea to support the Christmas Bureau in a year beset by complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic even amid a dramatic reworking of how the Christmas Bureau usually operates.

The Christmas Bureau is run by Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America and The Spokesman-Review. It gives each family in need a grocery store voucher and a toy and a book for each child.

Quite a few regular donors are increasing their normal donation amount, sometimes significantly. And those impacted by the pandemic directly are also contributing, even though they are struggling themselves.

Spokane residents Maggie and Jim Randall are two of those regular donors. They gave $10,000 this year. “We know many more families are in need this year,” they wrote in a short letter. “We are increasing our donation to $10,000 this year. We hope this helps all of the children and families have a blessed and joyful Christmas.”

Cochrane and Company also sent $10,000. “On behalf of Cochrane & Company, it is a distinct honor and privilege to offer our support to The Christmas Bureau, one of the most cherished organizations in the region, which has generously served the community for decades,” wrote Alex Cochrane. “In these challenging times we are reminded of the importance of charity, community, and goodwill. The Christmas Bureau and its legacy of helping those in need is near and dear to our hearts and we are grateful for the opportunity to lend our support to such a worthy organization and cause.”

Each year the Christmas Bureau is supported by a wide variety of donations. Some donations are large, but many of the gifts are small as people give what they can, whether it’s $100 or $10. Those small gifts add up, however, and are the backbone of the Christmas Bureau.

In that spirit, Spokane Production Service donated $750. It’s more than their usual donation, even though the company has been out of work due to the pandemic.

“Our organization has sent $500 to the Bureau for the last 20 years or more,” wrote George Lathrop. “This year we sent $750 as times are tough for the needy and also for those that typically donate. SPS is a payroll service for the union stagehands that work the Broadway shows and Arena concerts here in Spokane. There has been zero stage work since March 1, but we have been careful over the years to save for an emergency situation – like this one.

“We are happy that we can still contribute and hope that our gift will provide some entertainment or necessary services again this year. Thanks for all the work the newspaper does to make this happen.”

The donations, big and small, have added up to $63,605 today, the biggest day of donations so far this year. This brings the year-to-date total to $194,060, a big step closer to the goal of $535,000.

DonationsCochrane & Company donated $10,000, as did Jim and Maggie Randall, of Spokane. Gold Seal Mechanical, of Spokane, gave $10,000.

Tom and Wendy Bauer, of Spokane, gave $5,000.

An anonymous donor from Valleyford sent $2,000 “in memory of loved ones and also to honor the volunteers who work so hard for this wonderful cause. Merry Christmas to all!” Margaret Hibbard, of Indio, California, donated $1,500.

Rick and Diana Wilhite, of Spokane Valley, sent $1,000. “Once again we are blessed to share our prosperity with others less fortunate,” they wrote. “We give in honor of our parents, Claud and Reta Wilhite and Bob and Jean Peterson.” An anonymous donor gave $1,000 via PayPal.

Linda Wood, of Colbert, gave $1,000 in memory of Gary Jurgensen. Amy and Joel Galloway, of Spokane, contributed $1,000. Evergreen Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, of Spokane Valley, sent $1,000, writing “What a year! It has been tough on everybody. The doctors and team at Evergreen Cosmetic & Family Dentistry feel blessed to be able to donate to the Christmas Fund to help make the holiday season brighter for others. Thanks SR.”

Spokane Production Service gave $750. Michael Flannery and Dean Lynch, of Spokane, donated $750, “Now more than ever, we thank all the volunteers, donors and everyone who makes the Christmas Fund a necessary (unfortunately) and successful part of Spokane’s holiday season,” they wrote. “You always do a great job! Thank you.”

Gretchen and Margaret Rehberg, of Spokane, gave $500. “Thank you for this important work, we are happy to help,” they wrote. Kathleen Riel, of Spokane, sent $500. Dawn and Dave Voelker, of Spokane Valley, contributed $500. Pam Ness, of Coeur d’Alene, donated $500. The Gleason family, of Spokane, gave $500 “in memory of our mom and dad. They always made sure that we had a Christmas no matter how hard the times. Thank you for this opportunity to share their love!”

Chris and Mike Huie, of Spokane, sent $500. “Best wishes for a successful drive this year,” they wrote. An anonymous Spokane donor sent $500, writing “Thank you for all the work you do on the behalf of the families in Spokane.” Carol Ellis, of Spokane, donated $500. “God bless, and thank you for your efforts!” she wrote. Rodney Carlson gave $500 via PayPal.

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $500, writing “Thank you for all you are doing to help families this Christmas! This donation is in memory of Donna McGrory and Velda Oster, dear neighbors who passed away this summer.” David Maccini contributed $500 via PayPal, as did Don McCabe.

Tom and Cheri Susens, of Spokane Valley, contributed $430. Stephen Scott sent $400 via PayPal.

Gunhild Clegg, of Spokane, gave $350, writing “After a very sad and stressful year it really is wonderful to see the unrestrained joy that fills the heart of innocent children who so trust in the Christmas spirit each year. To the helpers of this great fund – do not worry, they, bursting with anticipation, must love whatever you do for Santa! I send this small donation to add as much joy as possible to their hearts in this incredibly difficult time for so many of us. Thank you so much to the volunteers who put together another way to bring some joy and happiness to the little ones and their families. We love and appreciate all that you do. Thank you!”

Roger Tompkins, of Spokane, contributed $300. Steve and Peggy Koehler, of Spokane, gave $300. William and Deborah Pierce, of Liberty Lake, sent $300. The Schmidt family, of Valleyford, donated $300. Tim and Darlene Holliday, of Spokane, gave $300 “in memory of our son, Russell ‘Air Hoss’ Holliday.” Mary Ann Chapman, of Mead, donated $300.

An anonymous Spokane donor sent $300, writing “Thank you for taking care of our community!”

Sharon and Gary Randall, of Colbert, sent $250 in memory of their parents and Lorraine McGregor, Sharon’s sister. Richard and Deborah Chan, of Spokane Valley, gave $250. “Thank you for keeping the spirit of Christmas alive, especially in this fiery, pandemic year!” they wrote. “The enclosed check is in honor and appreciation for Heatherlee, Calvin, Clara, Emmie, Bob and Ethyn. May these funds, in a small way, bless the less fortunate, especially the victims of the Malden-Pine City fires.

Paulette Abariotes, of Spokane Valley, donated $250 in memory of Gust Abariotes. Lynn and Don Pammler, of Spokane, gave $250. Patricia Bruininks sent $250 via PayPal. Bill Fanning, of Spokane, contributed $250.

Dennis McMann, of Newport, Washington, sent $200. An anonymous Chewelah donor gave $200, writing “After many years of reading about and feeling moved by the stories of the Christmas Fund, I am finally donating. This crazy pandemic year brings to my awareness how fortunate I am. It is my turn to share and give to the greater Spokane community. The continual adjustment of the Christmas Fund to adjust to different circumstances is remarkable.”

Lynn Davis, of Spokane, contributed $200, writing “Many thanks to the Spokesman-Review and all your volunteers.” Edward and Ethel Fisk, of Spokane Valley, sent $200. Susan and Spencer Shaw, of Spokane, sent $200. Harriet Plucker contributed $200 via PayPal. Theresa Utesch, of Veradale, gave $200. James Braukmann sent $200 via PayPal. Dianne Bongarts, of Spokane, contributed $200.

Joan Mael, of Spokane Valley, gave $200. Susan and Mike Hawkins, of Post Falls, sent $200. “Our Christmas wish is for your awesome organization to be granted the miracle you are hoping for during this holiday season,” they wrote. “Thank you and all your dedicated volunteers for making brighter holidays for those in need.” Jesse Zumbro contributed $200 via PayPal, as did Henry Greer. Tom Ruckhaber also sent $200 via PayPal.

R.H. Dalla, of Spokane, sent $150. The Macri family, of Spokane, contributed $150. Harold Vanderpool sent $150 via PayPal.

Tom and Bette Brattebo, of Liberty Lake, donated $125. Lianne and Fred Inaba, of Pullman, gave $125. “This has been a very difficult time, so we are giving more to other groups as well,” they wrote. “Thank you for giving people assistance.” Naomi Franklin, of Spokane, sent $125. Deanna Eppinger, of Spokane, gave $125.

Doug Nye donated $105 via PayPal. Marlene Peters, of Spokane, gave $100. Marsha and Scott Jones, of Spokane Valley, contributed $100. The Sutton family, of Spokane, sent $100. Phyllis Eide, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of Jacqueline Eide. Jim and Marlene McBride, of Nine Mile Falls, gave $100. Robert and Kathryn Anderson, of Oaksdale, donated $100.

The following Spokane donors each sent $100: Deborah Van Dyke, Dean and Mary Nagel, Lorraine Duffy, Harold and Heidi Clarke, Richard and Karen Steele, Tim and Kathleen Ugaldea, and John and Karen Wallingford.

Daniel Simonson donated $100 via PayPal “for all those dear Simonsons of Spokane who have passed on – Kent, Dorothy, Don, Shirlee – we miss you.” Sandra Hanson gave $100 via PayPal “in memory of ‘OTTO’ from Dakota.”

Dave and Kathy Henkle, of Colbert, gave $100. “Blessings of love, peace and hope in this Christmas season to all,” they wrote. “The joy we have is our grandchildren!” An anonymous Spokane donor sent $100. Two anonymous donors gave $100 each via PayPal.

The following donors each gave $100 via PayPal: Maria Hartshorne, Brad Snow, Charles Kogler, Cindy and Hal Nelson, Matthew McQuesten, Carl and Connie Anderson, Laurie Payne, Denise Garceau and Ed McGonigle.

Scott and Barbara McArthur, of Spokane, sent $75. Ralph Walter donated $75 via PayPal. Rovella Vawter, of Spokane Valley, gave $60.

Marilyn Cooley gave $50, as did Dennis Hanson. Sandra and David Mueller, of Spokane Valley, sent $50. Joyce Kretchmer, of Spokane Valley, gave $50. Gary and Jan Huguenin, of Spokane, donated $50, writing “Thank you for all you do for our community.” Gordon Radford gave $50 via PayPal, as did Growing Families Home Studies. Rebekah Buettner donated $50 via Pay Pal, as did Marjorie Mitchell.

Duanning Zhou and Ping Ping gave $50 via PayPal. Robert and Kathleen Haney, of Spokane, donated $50. Theresa Schimmels gave $50 via PayPal “in memory of my parents, Gary and Myrna Schimmels.” An anonymous donor sent $50 via PayPal. Konny Sinton donated $50 via PayPal.

Mark and Christine Flanigan, of Veradale, gave $40, writing “May God bless all your efforts! We are new to the area. Touched by what you do for the community. (Only wish I could give more.)” Nancy Agres, of Spokane, sent $40. Cherie Foss sent $30 via PayPal “in memory of my dad, George Poston.”

Janet Munson gave $30 via PayPal. Gregory Wahl, of Spokane, gave $25. An anonymous Liberty Lake donor sent $25, writing “Thank you for doing this year after year! God bless you all!” Darrel and Laureen Monasmith, of Spokane, contributed $25. Windy Ott sent $25 via PayPal.

Joy Mewhinney gave $15 via PayPal. Judith Horton, of Coeur d’Alene, gave $5.

If you go

Apply: Apply online at https://www.cceasternwa.org/christmas-bureau to receive a grocery store voucher.

Toys: Those who have already applied online and are in need of toys can send an email to christmas.bureau@cceasternwa.org. Do not put in a second application. Put “Toy Voucher” in the subject line and include your name, address, phone number and three or four sentences about your circumstances. Vouchers will be distributed on a first come, first served basis to those in the most need and it’s likely that not everyone will receive a toy voucher.

How to donate

By mail: Checks may be mailed to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund, P.O. Box 516, Spokane, WA 99210.

In person: Bring your donation to the lobby of The Spokesman-Review at 999 W. Riverside Ave. Please mark prominently, CHRISTMAS FUND. If you would like a receipt sent to you, include your mailing address or email address.

Online: Visit www.spokesman.com/sections/christmas-fund and click the PayPal button.

If you’d like us to send you a receipt for your donation, make sure to include your mailing address in PayPal’s comment box. If you’d like a receipt via email, just include a valid email address. In either case, we won’t share your information with anyone or use it for any other reason. And feel free to use the comment box to tell us anything you’d like.

Questions?

Email The Spokesman-Review at christmasfund@spokesman.com.

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