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‘It means a lot’: Grateful families hopeful for a merry holiday after picking up gifts on the Christmas Bureau’s last day of the season

By Nina Culver The Spokesman-Review

People flowed into the Christmas Bureau during its last day Thursday, despite steady snow and icy roads.

This year, the bureau helped thousands of Inland Northwest families provide a bright Christmas celebration for their children with gifts of toys and books, and some money to help with a holiday meal. The Bureau, now in its 76th year, is a collaboration among Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America and The Spokesman-Review.

Leah Fields came to the Bureau to get gifts for her four children, ages 4 to 12. She was happy that she made it to the Bureau before it closed. “At least I made it,” she said.

Fields has visited the Bureau before and knew she could count on it to provide quality gifts. “I’ve been doing this for the last six years,” she said. “I found good things.”

She picked out a beauty kit for one daughter and a science kit for another. Her oldest son got a drone, and she picked a pair of battling robots for her youngest son.

Fields said she recently learned she has to have another back surgery. “I had back surgery in August,” she said. “The recovery has been hard on me.”

She said she’s grateful for the gifts that the Bureau provided. “It’s helpful,” she said. “It means a lot.”

Sheryl Moralez was at the Bureau to pick up a gift for her 5-year-old great-granddaughter. She often cares for the child while her mother works. “I’m like a second mom to her,” she said.

She was thinking of getting her great-granddaughter a karaoke machine because she loves to sing. In addition to being a singer, she also talks about becoming an astronaut and a veterinarian when she grows up, Moralez said.

Moralez said she and her family have used the Christmas Bureau off and on since Moralez’s daughter was a teenager. Family members come when they need a little help with Christmas. “It’s been hard for her every year,” she said of her granddaughter, who she said works hard to provide for her daughter. “She’s trying to keep things turned on and do Christmas.”

Thanks to the generosity of Spokesman-Review readers, the Fields and Moralez families and thousands more like them will have a little something extra for Christmas .

Donations

People are answering the call for donations to fund the Christmas Bureau, sending in $59,305 in new donations to bring the year-to-date total to $368,624.10. The goal this year, as it has been for the last several years, is $535,000.

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $20,100 and wrote: “Merry Christmas and Happy 2022.”

Richard Dixon donated $12,000. Gold Seal Mechanical, of Spokane, donated $10,000. “We are pleased to again be able to contribute to your efforts to support our community,” wrote company president Richard Dixon.

Tom and Wendy Bauer, of Spokane, donated $5,000.

The Scott and Vicki Jones Donor-Advised Fund at Innovia Foundation donated $1,000. CPC Building Supply, of Kettle Falls, gave $1,000.

Rick and Diana Wilhite, of Spokane Valley, donated $500. “We are grateful for this opportunity to continue our support of the Christmas Fund in memory of our parents,” they wrote. “We are thankful that we can help others to have a Merry Christmas.” Delila Draper, of Spokane, gave $500.

An anonymous Cheney donor sent $500, writing “Thank you for all your time and effort you provide for the local communities of the Inland Northwest. Merry Christmas.” Marie Dawson, of Spokane, donated $500. “Thanks for all you do to make the holidays happier for so many!” she wrote.

William Dinneen, of Spokane, gave $500. Steven and Lori McNutt, of Spokane, sent $500. Linda Sloan donated $500. An anonymous Spokane donor sent $500 “on behalf of Spencer, Nathan and Violet for kids less fortunate.” Daniel Lennon, Spokane, gave $500.

The Michael Person Trust gave $400. Kevin and Judy Heid, of Spokane, contributed $400.

James and Peggy Ellingson, of Colbert, donated $300.

Marvin and Helen Soehren, of Spokane, donated $250. The Centurion Auto Club, of Spokane, gave $250. “We hope this donation will help those in need during this time of the season,” wrote club secretary Craig Pardun. “The Assistants,” a group of 45 women, donated $250.

Shirley Schatz, of Spokane, donated $200 “in loving memory of Gene Schatz and Karen Schatz Dunning.” Don Lippman, of Spokane Valley, gave $200 in memory of Marilyn Lippman. Brian Donahue and Tracey McHenry, of Spokane, sent $200.

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $150 “in remembrance of Monsignor Frank Bach for years of service to the Christmas Fund.”

Stephen and Debra Piper, of Spokane, gave $130. Douglas and Carol Spruance, of Spokane, sent $125. Gary and Judy Spangelo, of Cheney, donated $125.

Ron and Linda Schultz, of Spokane, gave $100 “for those in need.” J. Vervaeke, of Spokane, donated $100. Thomas and Ruth Conklin, of Spokane Valley, sent $100. “For all to enjoy Xmas,” they wrote. “Merry Christmas.”

Jessie and Barry Norris, of Spokane, contributed $100. Lee and Julie Rish, of Spokane, gave $100. “We are making it this year in memory of our friend, Shari Hueter,” they wrote. “Again we thank you all for your time and effort to help others.” David and Alejandra Looney, of Newport, Washington, donated $100. Tom and Mitch Solberg, of Spokane, sent $100 “in memory of our parents, who made Christmas so magical!”

J. Wingenroth and D. Fredrickson, of Spokane, gave $100. Jerry Jantz, of Cheney, contributed $100. An anonymous Spokane Valley donor sent $100. Alex Rizzuto, of Spokane, donated $100. George and Michelene Weisbarth, of Newport, Washington, sent $100. “We are happy to be able to help the fund again this year,” they wrote.

Carol Lippman, of Spokane Valley, gave $100 “in memory of my mother, Marilyn Lippman, who loved Christmas and the gift of giving.” W.T. and Charlotte Addiss, of Spokane, donated $100. Sandra and Michael Povich, of Spokane, sent $100. Mark and Linda McFall, of Colbert, contributed $100.

Gerry Rose, of Spokane, donated $100 “in memory of my sister Shirley, my husband Arlen and my nephew J.D. Thank you for helping so many.” Boyd and Jill Plager, of Spokane, gave $100. John and Dana Browne, of Colbert, contributed $100. Alice McKay, of Spokane Valley, sent $100. Karen and Keith Semerad, of Spokane, donated $100, as did Jerry and Joyce Fielding, of Spokane.

Jay Krumbholz, of Liberty Lake, gave $75

An anonymous Spokane donor gave $50 “in memory of my late husband, who loved Christmas so much!” Phyllis Robinson, of Spokane, sent $50. An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $50. Karen Chicha, of Spokane, donated $50. Clyde Ylitalo, of Coeur d’Alene, gave $50.

Elizabeth Christy, of Spokane, contributed $50. Michael Bonderenko, of Coulee City, Washington, gave $50.

Eloise and Gary Baskett, of Spokane, gave $30. Sondra and Kenneth Goadner, of Four Lakes, donated $25. Jane Lacock, of Deer Park, sent $25. “Have a blessed holiday season,” she wrote. “Peace, love and joy always.”

B.A. Bohanek, of Spokane, donated $20.

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