This year’s Christmas Bureau ends Thursday. So families in need should be sure to stop by the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center for a grocery store voucher, as well as a toy and a book for each child in the home.
The Bureau is a collaboration between Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America and The Spokesman-Review and has been helping families at Christmas for 76 years.
Sierra Ballard came to the Bureau on Wednesday to pick up books and toys for her five children. The youngest is a month old and was born prematurely. Ballard said her due date wasn’t until Dec. 29. “He just got out of the NICU,” she said.
Ballard is a single parent and she’s been out of work for a couple months. “I had COVID and then the baby came,” she said.
She’s applied for state-funded maternity leave but hasn’t received anything yet. That left her with little to provide a Christmas celebration for her children. She was appreciative of the toys and books she was able to get for them. “It makes their Christmas,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to have that one big item.”
She picked up a pair of battle robots for her 6-year-old son, who played with some recently. “We went to a friend’s house the other day and be was obsessed with it,” she said.
Ballard said she’s visited the Bureau in the past but hasn’t the last few years. But when she came up short for Christmas, she knew she could come and get quality toys for her kids. “They always have a good selection,” she said.
Marie Hult also was impressed by the toys available. “Pretty amazing selection,” she said.
Her first experience with the Christmas Bureau was last year, when the entire operation was forced to go virtual and gift cards were sent out so parents could buy toys themselves. “This is our first year to come here,” she said.
Hult was shopping for her youngest son, age 13, and three grandchildren. She said she was grateful to be able to look for toys that would fit the tastes of her son and grandchildren. “It’s just been a tough year,” she said. “It’s already spread thin, and then it gets spread a little thinner.”
The Bureau is open from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
New donations of $21,715 have pushed the year-to-date total to $309,319.10, but there’s still work to do to reach the goal of $535,000.
The Klaue Family Foundation donated $4,000. “The Foundation is once again blessed to be able to contribute to the Christmas Fund,” wrote David Klaue. “We are very thankful we are able to continue to contribute and be a part of a program that brings joy, brightness and many blessings to the families and organizations in need. The spirit and generosity of the Spokane community has helped many families experience the true meaning of Christmas. The benevolent providence and gift of giving to assist those less fortunate is rewarding, especially in these unprecedented economic and pandemic times.”
Colvico Inc., of Spokane, donated $2,000 “in memory of Stephen M. Colvin, 1941-2020.” An anonymous donor from Valleyford sent $2,000, writing “We wish a very Merry Christmas to all the terrific volunteers and the recipients of this wonderful organization!”
Jack and Pat Russell, of Spokane, gave $1,000, writing “Merry Christmas to all the volunteers. Thank you for helping us share with others.” Tipke Manufacturing, of Spokane, sent $1,000. Michael Flannery and Dean Lynch, of Spokane, donated $1,000. “We thank you all for the planning and hard work the Christmas Fund does,” they wrote. “It provides a way to help our community support some of those in need. All you volunteers are doing a great job!”
Justin and Tamie Voelker, of Spokane Valley, donated $500. Dennis and Patty Doyle, of Spokane, sent $500. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $500, writing “Thank you for helping brighten the holidays for so many in our community! Happy holiday!” Lawrence Kiewert, of Deer Park, donated $500.
Rick and Diane Thomas, of Spokane, gave $500. “We wish everyone a ‘Merry Christmas’ and love that we can support our community,” they wrote. “Many blessings to all.” An anonymous Hayden donor sent $500. An anonymous Spokane donor sent $500. Jeff and Mary Larson, of Spokane, donated $500, writing “Thank you for all you do for our community, Merry Christmas.”
Lois and Bob Banta, of Liberty Lake, donated $350. “A small assist to the hard-working volunteers with their efforts in bringing a smile to their customers!” they wrote.
Marguerite and Kenneth Gison, of Spokane, donated $300. Julia Peck, of Medical Lake, sent $300. William and Sharon Beck, of Otis Orchards, gave $300. Steven and Karen Heaps, of Spokane Valley, contributed $300. The Caldwell Living Trust, of Veradale, gave $300.
Tom, Darlene, McKenzie and Tanner Caldwell gave $300 “in memory of all our loved ones.” Lorna Bogarosh, of Spokane, sent $300 “in remembrance of Dave Strasser. May you continue to do the wonderful job of helping those in need.”
Gary and Vicki Erickson, of Medical Lake, gave $250.
Gary and Sharon Randall, of Colbert, donated $200 “in memory of our parents; Presley and Margaret Cleveland and Les and Clara Randall.”
Warren Fowler, of Ione, Washington, donated $200 in memory of Patti Fowler. Bruce Rogers, of Spokane, sent $200. “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” he wrote. Allan Bonney, of Spokane, gave $200. Barbara Traynor, of Spokane, contributed $200.
An anonymous Spokane Valley donor gave $200 in memory of Vera Actor. Leslie and Nicholas Zika, of Liberty Lake, donated $200. “My husband and I are unable to volunteer this year,” she wrote. “We miss that – it really puts it in the Christmas spirit.”
The Dance Center of Spokane donated $150. Steve and Roxie Palmer, of Spokane, gave $125, writing “Thank you for all that you do every year to help make Christmas brighter for so many.”
Barry Benoit, of Hauser, Idaho, sent $100. Judy Colenso, of Spokane Valley, gave $100. William and Rita Vancleve, of Spokane, contributed $100. Edward and Ethel Fisk, of Spokane Valley, donated $100. Vicki Victoria gave $100. Don and Viki Gorder, of Buckeye, Arizona, contributed $100. An anonymous Spokane donor sent $100.
Orene Harder, of Spokane Valley, donated $100. “Please accept this in memory of my daughter, Kari DeMarco, who passed in March,” she wrote. “She was a 30-year educator and fostered and adopted children.” Monica Nagashima, of Spokane, sent $100. Dean and Luella Palmer, of Spokane, contributed $100.
Scott and Marsha Jones, of Spokane Valley, gave $100. George and Nancy Haley, of Deer Park, gave $100. Rita Goehner, of Spokane, donated $100. “Thank you for helping make this coming Christmas better for the thousands of people in our community who are in need of extra help,” she wrote.
Bruce and Sandi Robinson, of Spokane Valley, contributed $100. Nadine Schulte, of Spokane Valley, sent $100, writing “Thanks for all you do!” Stephanie and Bruce Ottmar, of Spokane, gave $100. Kathy and Roger Myers, of Spokane, donated $100, writing “Thank you Lenny and Joe Kostecklecky for all of your amazing work.”
Scott and Barbara McArthur, of Spokane, sent $100. An anonymous donor gave $100 “in memory of my parents, from their daughter.”
Donelda Hamilton, of Spokane, donated $50. “Many years ago (35 or more), my daughter and son-in-law came to the fund for gifts for their two children,” she wrote. “I hope this check helps someone that was as destitute as they were. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Jane Courtright gave $50, as did an anonymous Spokane donor. Gary and Jan Huguenin, of Spokane, sent $50. “We would like to donate this money in memory of our grandson, Zachary Huguenin,” they wrote. “Thanks for all you do for the needy.”
Kate and Jim Jones, of Spokane, contributed $50. Glen and Kim Taylor, of Spokane Valley, sent $50. “Thank you for all of your good work!” they wrote. An anonymous donor sent $50, writing “Thank you for your yearly Christmas Bureau. Appreciate what you do for our community.”
Laurie Anderson, of Spokane, donated $25, as did Mary Kay Divalentino of Nine Mile Falls. Lowell Lehman, of Spokane Valley, sent $25.
Ron and Susan Coyle, of Spokane, sent $20.
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