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

Christmas Bureau meets fundraising goal amid pandemic as donations continue to arrive

Natalie Kuhl, client service manager at Banner Bank, said the company opted not to hold its annual food drive this year and collected donations instead that were then given to the Christmas Bureau. “To give a little cheer at the end of what has felt like a long year felt like it would have more of an impact,” she said.  (Nina Culver)
By Nina Culver The Spokesman-Review

The Spokane area has been called a lot of things over the years, some good and some bad. But there can be no doubt that the community is generous, caring and supportive of those in need.

In a year when a pandemic has gripped the nation, people have lost jobs and businesses have closed, the community has rallied to push the Christmas Bureau fundraising above the goal well before Christmas Day. So far $570,756.03 has been donated, topping the goal of $535,000, and donations are continuing to arrive.

While the fundraising goal has been met each year for the past 15 years, it’s usually a nail-biting affair that goes right to the end. At the beginning of this year’s effort, Catholic Charities CEO Rob McCann said that while the Christmas Bureau usually provides Christmas miracles for those in need, this year it might need a miracle itself.

“This is truly incredible,” said Christmas Bureau Coordinator Sierra Heinen of the generosity of donors. “Our community is a miracle in itself!”

Quite a few donors, seeing the greater need, increased their annual donations, sometimes by large amounts. Others donated for the first time. “The Christmas Bureau is incredibly grateful,” Heinen said. “The community helps us do the good work that needs to be done. If it wasn’t for our community, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”

Some of those community members are the employees and customers at Banner Bank. The bank normally holds a food drive every November but opted to collect cash for a charity instead this year, said Client Service Manager Natalie Kuhl.

Kuhl said she was familiar with the Christmas Bureau and it was decided to donate the $2,028.43 collected to the Bureau. Some of the money came from employees and some came from customers. “We asked for donations as they were coming through the drive-thru and had stickers and posters up,” she said.

The money was collected during the month of November in all Banner Bank branches stretching from Tekoa to Kettle Falls and from Hayden to Airway Heights. Kuhl said everyone liked that the Bureau provides food in the form of grocery store vouchers, but also provides toys.

“To give a little cheer at the end of what has felt like a long year, felt like it would have more of an impact,” she said.

They also liked that the Bureau serves all the towns that Banner Bank does, not just Spokane. “It’s our entire area,” she said. “Anyone can apply for it.”


New donations of $42,014.43 has brought the year-to-date total to $570,756.03. That’s above the goal of $535,000.

Jeff and Kae Johnson donated $5,000 via PayPal. Jean Moore contributed $1,500 via PayPal.

The employees and customers of Banner Bank gave $2,028.43. Dave Teague donated $1,040 via PayPal, writing “Merry Christmas and may God bless our community during this season. From the team at DeCoria, Blair and Teague, P.S.”

The Moore family, of Spokane, gave $1,000. An anonymous donor gave $1,000 via PayPal. Christopher and Karrie Lang gave $1,000 via PayPal, writing “God bless!”

The following donors each contributed $1,000 via Pay Pal: David Clover; Stacy Olson; Ted Olson; Paul Lin; and Todd and Christine Weaver. Richard Brooke sent $1,000 via PayPal “in loving memory of Philip and Jeannette Brooke.”

Andrea Benson donated $750 via PayPal.

Steven and Lorrie McNutt, of Spokane, donated $500. The Wolff family, of Spokane, gave $500 “in loving memory of Dean Wolff.” Margaret Miller sent $500 “in memory of my parents, Dan and Rita Quist.” Donna and Dennis Kelly gave $500 via PayPal “in memory of longtime Christmas Bureau volunteer Don Kelly.”

The following donors donated $500 each via PayPal: David Epperson; John Parker; Joseph Clements; Marian Durkin; Eugene Sanders; Patricia Morales; Steven Stocker; Dennis Ray; and Michael Giampietri.

An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $500, writing “Thank you for all you do to bring joy, hope and happiness to so many. This has been a difficult year and we are grateful to be able to help make this Christmas a little brighter for those who have lost so much. God bless.” An anonymous donor sent $500 via PayPal.

Norman and Bernie Brown gave $500 via PayPal “in honor of Kathy and Charlie Watson, who are very generous Spokanites, with gratitude.” Lawrence Krauter donated $500 via PayPal, writing “Thanks for the Spokesman-Review and the Christmas Bureau for making a difference for those in need at this critical time. The sign of a great community is how its citizens respond to help when needed and it is encouraging to see it happening now.”

Tom and Sue Eastman, of Spokane Valley, gave $400. Teresa Pisani sent $400 via PayPal, as did Lindell Haggin.

An anonymous Spokane donor sent $351, writing “Thank you all for your perseverance in giving to those in need this year. I know plans have needed to change multiple times in order to achieve this.”

Robert and Susan Witte gave $350. Robert Lemoine sent $350 via PayPal.

Barbara Marney, of Spokane, sent $300. “This donation is made in the name of my dear and greatly missed friend, Polly Quackenbush, who loved the Christmas Bureau and saw it as an example of the best of Spokane’s spirit. She volunteered for many years until her health kept her from it. Polly was a pioneer in so many ways. She worked for women’s equality, showed us our value as women and shared her opinions freely. I miss her and the many other glorious women who shaped Spokane into what it is today. So, dear Polly, may your light shine on.”

Edward and Eileen Hertel, of Spokane, donated $300. An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $300.

Tom, Darlene, McKenzie, and Tanner Caldwell donated $250 “in memory of our loved ones.” Steven and Eva Larue sent $250. The following donors contributed $250 each via PayPal: John Topping; Lou Corones; Gary and Vicki Erickson; Douglas Dominey; and Charles Horgan.

Anne Katsaris, of Spokane, contributed $200. Colleen Birchill, of Spokane, donated $200, writing “Merry Christmas to all and thanks to the volunteers who keep the fund running.” Kelly and Janet Watson, of Spokane, sent $200. An anonymous Airway Heights donor gave $200. William and Georgette Savitz, of Spokane, gave $200. Three anonymous donors each gave $200 via PayPal.

The following donors each gave $200 via PayPal: Shirley Sample; Charles Beadling; Steve Helmbrecht; Carlos Delgadillo; Bill Molsberry; and Roger Wright.

Richard and Lola Lile, of Spokane, donated $200 in memory of Robert and Ellen Houx. “Thank you again for all the extra effort in making sure the Christmas Fund continues helping families in our community,” they wrote. Lorraine Burghard, of Moses Lake, gave $200, writing, “Thank you to all the volunteers and people who make the Christmas Fund possible for many years and I’m sure for millions of families who would not have a Christmas if not for you. In memory of my daughter, who was killed 31 years ago by a drunken driver.”

Scott Price, of Colorado, gave $200 via PayPal “on behalf of my mother, Spokane resident Mary Kay Flynn, as requested for her Christmas gift. Merry Christmas and a happier new year! Stay safe and much love, Spokane.”

E.W. Adams contributed $175 via PayPal.

Lucy and Cooper donated $150 via PayPal, as did Elizabeth Reilly. Tiffany Cicchetti also gave $150 via PayPal. Diana Strasburg contributed $150 via PayPal, writing, “We would like to thank Lt. Lizzie Denton for her service and all those stationed at Fairchild.” Julie Silliman sent $150 via PayPal.

The Turner family, of Spokane, sent $125. Judith Flowers gave $125 via PayPal, writing, “A small donation to a good cause in a very tough year for many people! Merry Christmas!”

Mark Henderson contributed $120 via PayPal, writing, “Lynn and Mark Henderson wish to add to this wonderful fund in memory of mom, Jeannie Henderson, who left us this year to continue volunteering at Home with her Lord and Savior.” Marikay Mace donated $103 via PayPal.

Wayne Wright, of Spokane, donated $100 “in memory of Nancy Wright, a teacher who loved kids. Thanks to your team for a great job.” Glen and Kim Taylor, of Spokane Valley, contributed $100, writing, “Thank you for all that you do for the less fortunate.” Annette Combe, of Spokane, gave $100. Jeremy Weaver sent a $100 donation via PayPal on behalf of Incognito Salon and Spa.

Dwight and Vicki Carruthers, of Nine Mile Falls, sent $100. Margaret Jones sent $100. Terry and Vickie Kelly, of Spokane, donated $100. Three anonymous donors each gave $100 via PayPal. Melia Langdon sent $200 via PayPal, writing, “This donation comes from the STCU Digital Channel management team.”

The following donors each gave $100 via PayPal: Sara Johnston; Theophil Otto; Mellad Abeid; Michael V. Brown; Robert and Diane Notske; Sharon Hopper; Martin Weiser, Kathleen Cullen, of Spokane; Kristin Richardson, of Seattle; Stephanie Jamison; Randi Marsh; Christel Carlson; Yanxin Liu, Nancy Biggerstaff; Robert Shaw, Janna and Gary Leaf; Joanie Hathaway; Ellen Sizer, Annalie and Richard Evans; Nancy Figy; and Julie Ohlund.

Jon Snyder sent $80 via PayPal.

Vicki Bergstrom, of Rockford, gave $50. Donna and Vernon Knudsen, of Spokane Valley, sent $50. Dudley Mizoguchi, of Spokane, donated $50 in memory of Dwight Mizoguchi. Jody Leifer, of Spokane, gave $50 in memory of Chuck and Rae McCain.

Betty Thompson, of Spokane, donated $50. Jacqueline and John Richardson, of Spokane, gave $50. Toni Weatherwax sent $50 “in memory of my mother and grandmother, Marty Hargrave and Thelma Bicandi.” Daniel Campbell contributed $50 via PayPal in memory of Paula Campbell.

The following donors each gave $50 via PayPal: Dubravka Martincic; Larry Montague; Sara Clausen; Karen Ssebanakitta; Joy Wagner; Chris Smith; Mary Chase; Farol Stroyan; Brenda Clark; and Marilyn Anderson.

Kassia Kain sent $50 via PayPal, writing, “In honor of the hard work by the Christmas Bureau’s head office elves: Sierra, Brigid and Shayna. Thank you for making sure families still get a Christmas despite the pandemic.” Janelle Baker sent $50 via PayPal, writing, “I am making this donation in memory of my first and only grandchild, who was born sleeping. His name was Tavaris Champ and he would have been 9 years old on Dec. 29.”

Maureen Costanzo donated $50 via PayPal “in memory of my two dear friends who died from dementia this year, Cara Humphreys and Michelle Messer.”

Brent Monroe sent $40 via PayPal, writing, “Merry Christmas in memory of Grandma Lynn.”

Kathy Sansone contributed $30 via PayPal, as did Phyllis Adams. Nancy Kuch donated $30 via PayPal in memory of Bill Kuch. Reid Kracher, of Spokane, gave $27 via PayPal.

Beverly Gibb contributed $25 via PayPal, as did Lori Naccarato.

Mark Rosdahl, of Spokane Valley, contributed $20. Deanna Wilson sent $20 via PayPal. Yan Wu donated $20 via PayPal, writing, “Thanks for organizing this event. Happy holidays!”