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Donors push Christmas Bureau over fundraising goal for 15th year in a row

Sierra Heinen, left, of Catholic Charities and Jon Carollo, right, of Volunteers of America, accept checks representing the total of The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund from accountant Rebecca Woodbury, center, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019 in The Spokesman-Review newsroom. Donors supporting the annual Christmas Bureau exceeded the goal for 2019. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Sierra Heinen, left, of Catholic Charities and Jon Carollo, right, of Volunteers of America, accept checks representing the total of The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund from accountant Rebecca Woodbury, center, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019 in The Spokesman-Review newsroom. Donors supporting the annual Christmas Bureau exceeded the goal for 2019. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The greater Spokane area has come through in spectacular fashion again, pushing the Christmas Bureau over its fundraising goal for the 15th year in a row.

Catholic Charities and the Volunteers of America needed $535,000 to pay for the food vouchers, toys and books given out to needy families last month, and the $60,228.51 in new donations received since Christmas Day brought the total to $557,994.12.

What makes this feat all the more wonderful is the Christmas Bureau was not the only way people could support those in need during the holiday season. Local residents also supported the Salvation Army Red Kettle drive, Toys for Tots and other community efforts.

And it was not just Spokane and Spokane Valley residents who contributed to the Christmas Bureau. Donations came from Mead, Cheney, Newman Lake, Liberty Lake, Colbert, Rathdrum, Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls, Medical Lake, Chattaroy, Colville, Pullman, Rockford, Newport and more. But the message spread even farther than that, bringing in donations from Virginia, Tennessee and Arizona. The Christmas Bureau even went international this year, with a donation coming from Japan.

Many people now send contributions via PayPal, which deducts a small fee from each donation. Every year The Spokesman-Review pays the cost of those fees so that the full amount donated goes to the Christmas Bureau.

This year, the Christmas Bureau helped 27,548 people in 7,973 households. A book and a new toy were given to 15,036 children so they could have gifts waiting for them on Christmas morning.

It took gifts of all sizes to reach the goal. Children sent in their allowance. Retirees contributed from their limited income. Businesses, some of which faithfully give to the Christmas Bureau every year, sent large checks.

Several people wrote that they wished they could give more, but everything counted. A $25 donation was enough to cover a food voucher for a family of three; $20 was enough to buy a new toy.

One donor who gave $25 summed it up nicely, writing, “My donation is small but many small donations added together can make a goal.”

Thank you, Spokane. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Donations

James and J.L. Cowles, of Spokane, donated $20,000.

Cochrane & Company gave $10,000. “Cochrane & Company is excited to once again contribute to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund,” wrote Trisha Gimpel. “We love that this charity helps families right here in our community that are in need. All of us at Cochrane & Company are thankful to the many volunteers that continue to do such a great job to make this happen.”

Acme Concrete Paving Inc, of Spokane, gave $5,000, as did an anonymous Spokane donor.

“Two sisters” gave $2,000 “in memory of mom, dad, Peggy, Rick and Craig. To all the wonderful volunteers, shoppers and staff who put together this marvelous kindness to people who also need a Merry Christmas – thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Donald Tuttle, of Spokane, sent $1,500.

Walker Construction Inc. sent $1,000. The Hendershot Family Charitable Fund contributed $1,000. “We are blessed to be able to share with our community in this Christmas season,” they wrote. Glenn Breen, of Goodyear, Arizona, gave $1,000 via PayPal, as did Ted Olson, of Cheney.

The Charlie and Kathy Watson Family Fund, managed by the Innovia Foundation, donated $1,000. Angela Johnstone, of Spokane, contributed $1,000. John Altberg sent $1,000 via PayPal. “Please to contribute once again to help those in need in our community and many thanks to those who give themselves to make Christmas brighter for others,” he wrote.

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $600 via PayPal.

Nancy Backes, of Pullman, sent $500 via PayPal. Matt and Kiersten Lyons, of Spokane, donated $500. “Like many other veterans who have adopted Spokane as our new hometown – well, it’s been 12 years now – we are pleased to make our annual contribution to the SR Christmas Fund and continue to marvel at the compassion and generosity of our wonderful neighbors across the city. God bless all the volunteers and everyone who makes this effort such a blessings to so many each year!”

James Bankston, of Spokane, gave $300.

The Commellini Estate Inc., of Spokane, gave $250. Jack and Becky Severinghaus, of Spokane, donated $250 “to thank all our friends and family for their kindness.” Graydon Baucom, of Spokane, gave $250 via PayPal. Craig and Linda Lenhart, of Spokane, contributed $250. “Blessings to all this holiday season!” they wrote.

Timothy and Sandra O’Doherty, of Spokane, donated $250. Darwin Page, of Spokane, sent $250. Brad Ennis and Terren Roloff, of Spokane, gave $250 “in honor of Marilee and Donna Roloff, who have been amazing supporters of the Christmas Bureau for many, many years.” Margaret Farris and Richard Funge, of Mead, donated $250.

The Noon family of Spokane Valley donated $200 in memory of Gay Noon and Tom Noon. “Merry Christmas to all you hard working people,” they wrote. “We appreciate you one and all.” Christopher Sherfey, of Spokane, gave $200.

Tish and Tom Sawyer, of Spokane, sent $200. “Thanks so much for coordinating this amazing event to help those in need,” they wrote. “Spokane is a special place to help so many people all yearlong.” Craig Gruenig, of Spokane, contributed $200.

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $200, writing, “Loved the story of the wooden trucks! Good for the many who contributed.” Alan McNeif, of Liberty Lake, gave $200. Lori Dixon, of Spokane Valley, donated $200 via PayPal. “Merry Christmas and a happy new year!” she wrote.

Danna Zahller, of Spokane, donated $200. “I’m sending this donation in honor of my dear friend, Katie Gneiting, who lost her battle with cancer this year,” she wrote. “Katie was a school teacher and would have loved the idea of spreading Christmas joy through books and toys.” An anonymous Spokane donor gave $200.

David Kappers donated $150. The Vuletich family, of Spokane, contributed $150. Darla Malone, of Hayden, sent $150 “in memory of Richard B. and Maxine F. Malone. I miss you every minute of every day.”

Jeff and Julie Morris donated $180 in memory of Barry Jones. Michael and Doreen Lewis, of Spokane Valley, sent $105.

Jill and Jerry Skogstad, of Spokane, gave $100, as did Janie Slater, of Spokane. Bill Phipps donated $100 in memory of Shirley Phipps. Ken Dunlap, of Spokane, gave $100 in memory of Joann McNabb Dunlap. Bob and Judy, of Medical Lake, contributed $100. “God bless you for all the wonderful things you do for others,” they wrote.

Norma Echelbarger, of Spokane Valley, donated $100, as did Daniel and Kathleen Johnson, of Spokane. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $100. Megan Steinhilber, of Spokane, sent $100 via PayPal. Greg and Sheila Krein, of Spokane, contributed $100, as did Steve and Theresa Helmbrecht, of Spokane.

An anonymous Spokane Valley donor contributed $100. Larry Tobin, of Spokane, gave $100. “Thanks for all you do,” he wrote. Catherine Dixon, of Spokane Valley, donated $100 via PayPal. An anonymous donor sent $100. Russell Cornell, of Knoxville, Tennessee, gave $100 via PayPal “on behalf of Ardith Divine. Merry Christmas.”

Thomas and Linda Hempel, of Apache Junction, Arizona, donated $100. “Merry Christmas from sunny Arizona,” they wrote. “Hope this small contribution will help!” An anonymous Airway Heights donor gave $100, writing, “Thank you for continuing this tradition year after year!” Larry and Barb Nelson, of Spokane Valley, contributed $100.

An anonymous Spokane donor sent $100, writing, “Given in honor of Dominican Sister Pam Miller, lost this spring at 78 to complications from ALS, and Sister Peggy Glynn, now at the Sinsinawa Dominicans’ motherhouse in Wisconsin. They served many years together in Alaska, including along the Yukon River, and in recent years in Spokane monitored the Christmas Fund with joy as the total grew toward its goal.”

Russell Cornell, of Knoxville, Tennessee, gave $100 via PayPal “on behalf of Sue and Duke Cornell. Merry Christmas.” John and Dolores Skelton, of Spokane, donated $100. Gratia Baugh, of Chattaroy, sent $100 “in honor of my daughter and son-in-law, Terry and Paul Giordanella, who are so caring of people and animals.” Linda Greene sent $100 via PayPal.

Duanning Zhou, of Spokane, donated $100 via PayPal, writing, “I donate on behalf of the Spokane Chinese Association. We thank you for this opportunity to contribute!”

Robert Werth sent $80 via PayPal. John Spencer donated $75 via PayPal. “Please accept this donation in memory of my parents, Tom and Lois Spencer,” he wrote. “And thanks to all the volunteers who make this possible.”

Conner Slater contributed $50. John and Darla Webber, of Colbert, gave $50. “Thanks for having a Christmas Fund,” they wrote. “Sorry this is being sent at the last minute.” An anonymous Spokane donor sent $50, writing, “Thanks for doing this year after year. Our small gift is in memory of our parents.”

Eli Tobin and Nancy Dunn each donated $50. “All this money is from my grandson, Eli Tobin,” Dunn wrote. “It was his giving gift for Christmas that he is giving to you and I am matching.” Mike Prager, of Spokane, gave $50. Ralph Walter, of Spokane, donated $50 via PayPal in memory of Carol Walter.

Joe and Mary Ann Busch, of Spokane, donated $50. “Thank you for what you do each year,” they wrote. Cleve and Brit Penberth, of Spokane, sent $50. Shuming Bai, of Spokane, gave $50 via PayPal. “Merry Christmas to all,” she wrote. Betty Thompson, of Spokane, sent $50. An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $50.

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $25, writing, “With many thanks for your years of bringing help and support to those in need.” Stanley Cowart donated $25 via PayPal. Margaret Kobylus, of Spokane Valley, sent $25.

Jennifer Calvert, Xiaolan Muchmore and Lois Hughes each donated $20 via PayPal.

An anonymous Liberty Lake donor gave $10, writing, “Thank you for all you do.”

The change was collected from the fountain in the courtyard at The Spokesman-Review, which totaled $2.51.

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