This has been an unprecedented year in many ways and the COVID-19 pandemic forced radical changes to the Christmas Bureau, forcing it to go virtual instead of handing out books and toys to families in need.
The Christmas Bureau has raised millions of dollars over the years and for the last 15 years has met its fundraising goal each year. Not only will this be the 16th year in a row that the goal will be met, but the Christmas Bureau’s previous record of raising an all-time high of $578,404.44 in 2013 will be shattered.
New donations of $6,465 have brought the year-to-date total to $577,121.03, just an inch away from breaking the 2013 record. And there’s still nearly a week to go before this year’s fundraising effort ends.
If ever there was a year for such a groundswell of generosity, this was it. Christmas Bureau volunteers spent all year buying toys and books, as they usually do. Those items still have to be paid for, but now there are unexpected costs for toy vouchers, postage and storage that have to be reckoned with.
Mailed donations need to arrive by Monday in order to be included in this year’s tally. That’s also the last day for people to bring in donations in person to the downtown Spokesman-Review offices at 999 W. Riverside Ave. PayPal donations should be made by Sunday so there is time for processing.
The final amount raised by the community will be reported in a story in The Spokesman-Review on Jan. 1.
A donation not included in today’s total is an in-kind donation of $8,390 made by Keith Kuester to Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington, which helps facilitate the Christmas Bureau.
Matt and Libby Pugel, of Spokane, donated $505.
John Stine, of Spokane, donated $500. An anonymous Millwood donor sent $500. Jeff and Julie Morris, of Spokane, contributed $500. Alpine Haus Marina, of Spokane Valley, gave $500. “Owners Vince and Melody Zimmer and the staff at Alpine Haus Marina wish only the best for the families in need,” Vince Zimmer wrote. “Merry Christmas.”
Wendy Perry, of Medical Lake, sent $500, writing “Love came down on Christmas and you, our angels here, are spreading it around to the most needy. Blessings to you and yours!”
The Schauble Family donated $400 “in memory of Betty J. Schauble, our mother and grandmother, and the heart and soul of our family. We are forever grateful for her enduring love, support and care, and we are hopeful that this gift will help to make other families’ Christmases a little brighter this year during this difficult time.”
Williams and Karen Mahar, of Spokane, gave $300, as did Larry and Tudy Hatch, also of Spokane. Joan and Larry Reuthinger, of Spokane, donated $300 “in memory of our parents, Mary and Joe Reuthiniger, and Larry’s wife, Linnea Reuthinger. Thank you for the Christmas Fund.”
Rob Martin and Maria Yamada, of Spokane, contributed $250. Keith and Julie Western gave $250 in honor of Melvin and Hilda Bergeron.
An anonymous Colbert donor sent $200, writing “It’s been a rough year. Thanks for all you do.” Darwin Page, of Spokane, donated $200.
Colleen Striegel, of Spokane, donated $145. “Thanks for all you do!” she wrote. “Merry Christmas to all the volunteers at the S-R Christmas Fund.” James and Joyce Stefanoff, of Spokane, gave $125.
Libby Ward donated $100, as did Thomas and Elaine Pitzer. Barbara and Steven Bergstrom, of Spokane, contributed $100. Judith and Tom Cline, of Spokane, sent $100. Tom Towey, of Spokane Valley, gave $100. Shirley and Phil Hauck, of Spokane, sent $100, writing: “We appreciate the special help you give members of our community during this holiday season.”
James English, of Colville, sent $100, as did Diane Shaw, of Spokane Valley. Rose and Charles Carver, of Medical Lake, gave $100. Gerry Rose, of Spokane, donated $100 “in memory of my husband, Arlen Rose, and my sister, Shirley Staebell Scribner. I appreciate all you do for our community.”
Larry and Darcy Reichert, of Spokane, contributed $60.
Mike Yake, of Newman Lake, gave $50. Kerry Orcutt, of Spokane Valley, sent $50, writing “Thanks to all of you for making this happen even in the most difficult times.
Al Kiefer, of Spokane, gave $40. “This donation is in honor of my spirituality group, the Cosmic Cuties, who, in better, safer times, would be gathering this holiday season for dinner and gift giving,” he wrote. “This year we decided to give that money to organizations in our community. Thank you for making the season a bit brighter for many families.”
Nancy Pike, of Spokane, sent $25, writing “Thank you for all the extra care you have taken in this unprecedented year of the COVID pandemic.” Scott and Carrie Rider, of Spokane Valley, gave $25.
Tevo Swanson and George Chin gave $20 “in loving memory of our parents, Hugh and Dolphie Swanson and David and Mary Chinn; in loving memory of Rodney LeClaire. Thank you volunteers of Christmas Bureau for making Christmas bright and cheerful for those in need, especially in these trying times. Wish this could be more. Merry Christmas.” An anonymous donor sent $20.
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