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

Family grateful Christmas Bureau finding its way through pandemic

By Nina Culver The Spokesman-Review

This has been a tough year for many as people deal with unemployment and the financial difficulties that come with it. But other families who were struggling before, whether because someone was underemployed or a single earner struggling to support an entire family, are still struggling now.

Evelyn Tahkeal-Eakin falls into the latter category. She and her husband have three girls, ages 6, 3 and 2. She works and her husband stays home to take care of the girls.

“Right now I’m at a gas station and it’s just minimum wage,” she said.

Her income is used to pay bills and there’s not a lot left over. She applied for a grocery store voucher from the Christmas Bureau and has been notified that she will be receiving a voucher to buy toys as well. “Every little bit counts,” she said.

The first time Tahkeal-Eakin used the Christmas Bureau was several years ago, when she was a single mother to her oldest daughter. And as tough as things are now, they used to be worse. When she gave birth to her second daughter, she and her family were in a homeless shelter even though her husband was working .

During that time, the family was completely dependent on what they received from the Christmas Bureau to create a Christmas for their girls. “We were really struggling,” she said. “There wasn’t anything else. I was really grateful, because at least they got something.”

Even then, she did her best to look at the bright side. “It wasn’t all that bad because we had a roof over our head and we were together,” she said of their six months in a shelter.

Tahkeal-Eakin said she’s disappointed that there won’t be an in-person Christmas Bureau this year, but understands why there can’t be. She’s been approved to receive a toy voucher, but she said she’ll also miss the books she was able to select for her girls every year. “I really appreciate them,” she said.

There’s a special shelf in her home that holds all the books her girls have gotten from the Christmas Bureau, and they enjoy reading them together. “They all get to pick a story,” she said.

Though things are different this year, the Christmas Bureau is still working to ensure that this family’s Christmas story will be a good one.


The goal this year is to raise $535,000 for the Christmas Bureau, which provides grocery store vouchers and toys to families in need. New donations of $26,660 have brought the year-to-date total to $247,202.33.

Moulton Wealth Management, of Spokane, donated $10,000. “As we approach the holidays in a COVID-19 world, we know many are struggling,” Don and Rial Moulton wrote in a letter. “We thank the Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund for the opportunity to help, and we’ve tried to dig a little deeper in the face of overwhelming need. Our thanks for our wonderful clients, and in memory of our very special mother, Rial and Don and everyone at Moulton Wealth Management hopes this small token of our gratitude for all God’s gifts helps others better enjoy the holidays. Merry Christmas to all! God bless and stay safe.”

Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists gave $5,000.

An anonymous donor gave $1,000 via Schwab Charitable. Hal Dixon, of Spokane, gave $1,000. “Wish it could have been more,” he wrote. “Tough year!” An anonymous Spokane donor sent $1,000, writing, “Our anonymous donations this year is dedicated to the ‘helpers.’ Mr. Rogers nailed it with ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ This speaks volumes as to what the Christmas Bureau is all about, a bunch of helpers wanting to make a difference. Mr. Rogers would be proud, Spokane!”

Georgene Patten, of Spokane, sent $1,000. “Christmas at ‘our’ house begins when we honor Les Patten, husband, father and grandfather, with a donation to the Spokesman-Review Christmas Fun. Every year Les began his gifting to (the) fund, the spirit of Christmas for our Spokane community. His tennis doubles partner, Michael Soss, was a longtime volunteer and so we chose to honor them both.

“Enclosed is the check from family: Georgene Patten, Spokane; Herb and Kathleen Patten, San Mateo, California; Rich Patten, Vancouver, B.C.; Barbara and Kelly Cunningham, Naperville, Illinois; Tracy Cunningham, Chicago; and Melissa and Brian Michalik, Naperville, Illinois. Thank you, Spokesman-Review, for continuing this wonderful tradition, despite the social distancing and other restrictions.”

Corliss Newman and John Bodinger, of Spokane, gave $1,000. Tina McElligott donated $750.

John and Linda Davis, of Spokane, donated $500. Jeff and Kim Brown, of Mead, contributed $500. “Thank you for all you do!” they wrote. BMT Metal Fabrication sent $500. Richard Umbdenstock, of Spokane, gave $500. Audrey Ecker, of Spokane, sent $500, writing “Many thanks and good wishes to all the kind folks who make this happen.” Kevin and Donna Sweeny, of Spokane, donated $500.

Rafe and Carol Estrada, of Spokane, gave $400. Todd Caldwell, of Veradale, gave $300 “in memory of Robert Keen, a very dear and special father-in-law.” An anonymous Spokane donor sent $300 “in honor of our three grandchildren.”

Lloyd and Joye Gill, of Spokane, donated $210 “in memory of Vi Ward and all the moms that went to heaven this year.” Centurions Auto Club, of Spokane, donated $200.

David and Dianne Mirabell, of Spokane, donated $125. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $125, writing, “Our daughter asked us this Christmas to make a gift to a charity that helps kids in Spokane instead of a gift to her. We have chosen the Christmas Bureau. Thank you for helping to make Christmas better for the residents.” Bethe Schomburg, of Spokane, gave $125.

James R. Walesby contributed $100. Olinda Martin, of Spokane, gave $100. Leslie and Lois Albert, of Spokane Valley, sent $100. Wendy Shoemaker, of Spokane, donated $100. Sharon Piper, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of Tricia Piper. Randy and Beverly Masteller, of Spokane, sent $100.

David and Carol Bray, of Spokane, contributed $100. James and Kenna Morgan, of Spokane Valley, contributed $100. “So happy to support this worthy cause,” they wrote. “Great work everyone who had to jump in and figure out a way to remember the children this Christmas during the pandemic. Couldn’t have been an easy task. God bless you all.”

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $50. Emily Gordon, of Spokane, gave $50 in honor of Becky Nappi and Tony Wadden. Deborah and Kirk Schmick, of Spokane, sent $50. Ernestine Eggers, of Spokane Valley, contributed $50. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $50. Janice Simmons, of Spokane, contributed $50.

Judith Brown, of Spokane, gave $25.

If you go

Apply: Apply online at to receive a grocery store voucher.

Toys: Those who have already applied online and are in need of toys can send an email to 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 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.


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