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The Christmas Bureau’s battery benefactor lets kids enjoy those high-tech toys with the gift of power

Christmas Bureau volunteer Doug Lanyon provides batteries for the toys sent home to be opened as gifts for children. Lanyon and his business partner, John Keggan, own six Batteries and Bulbs franchises.  (Nina Culver/The Spokesman-Review)
Christmas Bureau volunteer Doug Lanyon provides batteries for the toys sent home to be opened as gifts for children. Lanyon and his business partner, John Keggan, own six Batteries and Bulbs franchises. (Nina Culver/The Spokesman-Review)
By Nina Culver The Spokesman-Review

Many people work behind the scenes at the Christmas Bureau to make sure everything runs smoothly. This year, Santa had a new helper who made sure that all the toys were ready to go before they went home to children eager to play.

Doug Lanyon, along with business partner John Keggan, owns six Batteries and Bulbs franchises, two in Spokane and one each in Coeur d’Alene, the Tri-Cities, Yakima and Walla Walla. He agreed to provide all the batteries needed for the toys, which is no small task when you consider how many of today’s toys light up and make noise, particularly those for infants and toddlers.

Lanyon began volunteering at the Christmas Bureau in 2019 at the urging of his significant other.

“I came in and volunteered and noticed they were using batteries,” he said. “I thought, ‘I can help with that.’ ”

He first offered to supply batteries for the Christmas Bureau in 2020, but a last -minute switch to a virtual Bureau meant none were needed.

“It’s the first year we’ve been able to accomplish it,” he said.

Most toys take AA and AAA batteries, though some larger sizes were needed. Lanyon estimates he provided about 7,500 batteries this year and said he just wants to help where he can. He said he promised to provide whatever the Christmas Bureau needed.

“They can buy more things, more toys for people if they don’t have to buy batteries,” he said.

Toy buyer Cheryl Taam said she used to try to avoid electronic toys because of the cost of supplying all the batteries. Even then, she used to spend thousands of dollars each year on batteries. Now that she doesn’t have to worry about that cost, she’s free to buy whatever toys she thinks children will like, she said

.

Lanyon also worked several volunteer shifts in the toy room this year and said he’s gratified to see so many people being helped.

“It’s great to see happy faces going out of here,” he said.

Many of those people were carrying toys with a few batteries tucked inside, ready to go on Christmas morning.

Donations

New donations of $12,135 have brought the Christmas Bureau closer to its goal of $535,000, with a year-to-date total to $395,044.10.

John Baumhofer, of Spokane, donated $5,000. “This year’s donations is, again, in remembrance of those who are no longer with us and as an expression of appreciation for those donors, organizations, staff and indispensable volunteers that made this a reality,” he wrote. “Facing extraordinary challenges (again), this effort impacts so many individuals and families during these stressful times. It also provides renewed conviction that the ‘positive’ achieved through community efforts can be the focus to lead us through these frustrating, confusing and often divisive times.

“Thank you to all involved in this effort, the recent Tom’s Turkey Drive, and other community efforts that exemplify your dedication and commitment to making things better for all. Also, a thank you to all those that work and who volunteer on a daily year-round basis to support individuals and families in need.”

John and Terry Engleman, of Spokane, donated $1,000. Ed and Lynn Van Vliet gave $1,000 “in memory of our dear friend Dr. Bruce Ellingsen. Blessings to all and a very Merry Christmas.”

An anonymous donor sent $850, writing, “Please accept this donation on behalf of our Lord Jesus. I continue to be blessed with abundance and I am grateful I can contribute to this worthy cause.”

Mark Casey donated $500.

Timothy and Camille Schmidt, of Valleyford, gave $300. An anonymous Spokane donor sent $300, writing, “We want to thank all of you who make Christmas special and magical for so many. Especially in such challenging times as these. Our anonymous gift wishes to honor all those in the healthcare field who have given their all to keep us healthy and provide the best care possible. Especially those doctors, dentists, nurses … so many … so much thanks! And in particular, Damon Orthodontists.”

Dawes and Mary Kay Eddy gave $300. “Thank you for the many blessings you bring to the people of the Spokane area,” they wrote.

Jim and Lynn Kimmel, of Spokane, gave $250. George Schroeder, of Spokane, donated $250.

An anonymous Spokane donor sent $200. Pauline Bresnahan, of Spokane Valley, gave $200. “Given in honor of Kathy Lakie’s birthday,” she wrote. Denise Mutschler, of Cheney, donated $200. An anonymous donor contributed $200.

Duane and Joan Flamoe, of Spokane, gave $200. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $200, writing, “This anonymous donation is to add a little more joy for the less fortunate families in our Spokane community so they can celebrate in the holiday spirit. A big thank you to all the volunteers and agencies who make this annual Christmas Bureau event possible every year. Their efforts are much appreciated over the 76 years of bringing joy to others!”

Betsy and Michael Schneider, of Spokane, contributed $150.

Shirley and Philip Hauck, of Spokane, gave $100. Kris Spelman, of Spokane, donated $100 “in loving memory of my grandmother, Violet Burgunder, and great aunt, Elsie Altin.” Maxine Breshears, of Spokane, sent $100. Marcy and Mark Majeski, of Spokane, gave $100.

An anonymous Colbert donor sent $100, writing, “God bless you for all you do.” Jeanne Dault, of Spokane, donated $100 “in honor of my late husband, Bob Dault.” Guy Altizer, of Spokane, gave $100. “A little something for all those in need this season,” he wrote.

An anonymous Colbert donor gave $100, writing, “Thanks for the ‘Merry Christmas’ you provide for so many.”

Donald Tuttle, of Spokane, donated $50. Mary McCormick-Kaufman, of Spokane, gave $50. David and Eva McChesney, of Spokane, sent $50, writing “Hope the enclosed $50 helps!” An anonymous Spokane donor gave $50.

Eldred and Bertha Hicks, of Spokane, sent $35.

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