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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Making the Christmas Bureau what it is: Companies, groups and volunteers donate time, expertise and goods

Karis Daniel, left, and Andrea Tichey peruse the book selection last December at the 2021 Christmas Bureau at the Spokane Fair and Expo Center.  (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVI)
By Nina Culver The Spokesman-Review

There are a lot of moving parts to the Christmas Bureau, including hundreds of volunteers, people who buy books and toys year-round and the donors who fund the entire effort. But there are also local companies and organizations who work behind the scenes to make sure it all runs smoothly.

Clint and Cheryl Branz of Jim Custer Enterprises are responsible for the festive look of the Bureau, putting up all the holiday drape partitions that separate the different areas and adding other decorative touches.

“We couldn’t do any of this without Clint Branz,” said Christmas Bureau Coordinator Sierra Heinen. “Clint has been an even bigger supporter through the pandemic. It’s been a relief to have Clint by my side, who has large-scale event expertise.”

Lilac City – LCD Exposition services also helps with the event décor. Yokes, the downtown Grocery Outlet and Rosauers all provided plastic bags for book gifts. The Super One on 29th Avenue provided grocery carts for toy room shopping, and Costco provided flatbed carts that volunteers used in the toy room.

The Bureau also got a big boost this year from ABC Mini Storage, which provides year-round storage units for toys and books. Penske truck rental provided trucks for storage unit transport, and DeVries Moving Packing and Storage also helped store and transport toys. MovHer provided a truck to haul books from storage.

The Arby’s restaurant at 10407 E. Sprague Ave., owned by Dave McGann, brought sandwiches and chicken tenders for the volunteers every day the Bureau was open. Pizza Pipeline provided discounted pizza for volunteers on setup days.

Earthworks Recycling provided container and recycling pickup during the Bureau. Batteries and Bulbs provided all the batteries needed for the toys.

The Spokane Chiefs organized their annual teddy bear toss, netting 5,175 stuffed animals to give away. Central Valley High School held its annual stuffed animal donation drive this year as well. St. Mary’s Catholic School, St. John Vianney Catholic School and Providence Health Care all held pajama drives to benefit the Bureau. Numerous local woodworkers crafted hand-made wooden cars and trucks to be given away.

Heinen said she’s also grateful for help she received from Rachelle Buchanan and Jason Hibbs at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, which hosted the Bureau once again. “Thank you for the amazing communication and support,” she said. “These two are a great team to work with.”


New donations of $28,853 have brought the year-to-date total to $489,972.10. The goal this year is once again to raise $535,000 to pay for the Christmas Bureau.

Metals Fabrication Co. donated $20,000 via Pay Pal, writing “Metals Fabrication Company hopes that all families in need have something special for their children on Christmas morning. We wish you all a very happy holiday.”

The Rockstrom Family Charitable Fund, of Spokane, donated $2,000 in memory of Donald Rockstrom.

Evergreen Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, of Spokane Valley, gave $1,000. “Drs. Good, Dodson and Walpole and the entire team at Evergreen Cosmetic and Family Dentistry say ‘Thank you’ to the Spokesman-Review for helping to make the season brighter for those in need.”

Jeff and Kim Brown, of Mead, donated $500. “Thank you, once again, for all you do,” they wrote. Carol and Clint Allen, of Spokane Valley, sent $500 “to honor our front-line workers, especially nurses.” Judie Mitchell gave $500 via PayPal.

Amy Flowers donated $300 via PayPal. “Thank you for continuing to lead this community driven effort!” she wrote. “This is dedicated to my parents, Ben and Judy Flowers, who demonstrated the meaning of ‘serve one another humbly in love.’”

John Miller, of Spokane, sent $250. Mathew and Shirley Alling donated $250 via PayPal, writing “I wish all the recipients a very Merry Christmas. In memory of Shirley’s parents, Milbert and Frances Joachim. They got us started donating to the fund many years ago.” Carol Pierre contributed $250 via PayPal.

Jesse Zumbro gave $215 via PayPal.

Heather Brennan, of Spokane, donated $200. Sue and Mike Hawkins, of Post Falls, gave $200. “Thank you to all of the dedicated and generous volunteers who help make the season more joyful for our community,” they wrote. “Blessings!” Brad Ennis and Terran Roloff, of Spokane, donated $200 “in memory and honor of our mothers – Joy Ennis and Donna Roloff – two powerhouse women!”

Chris and Laurie Curran sent $200 via PayPal, as did Grace Cooper. Shannon, Ben and Ava Brattebo gave $200 via PayPal.

Darren Hand gave $150 via PayPal “on behalf of Syler Hand.” Richard and Anne Mertens, of Spokane, gave $113.

Andrew Caster gave $100. Barbara Van Leuven, of Spokane, donated $100 in memory of her husband, Jerry. Nicholas and Donna Zolecki, of Veradale, sent $100. Cyrus McLean gave $100.

Kathleen Ossello, of Spokane, contributed $100. “Today is my friend Kathy Lackie’s birthday,” she wrote. “I make this donation in honor of her birthday. She has and continues to volunteer at the Christmas Bureau for many years.” Michel Byram gave $100 via PayPal “in memory of Stephanie and Staci.”

The following people each donated $100 via PayPal: Steve and Theresa Heimbrecht, Bill Molsberry, Geraldine Chalich, Terri Johnson, Craig Aldworth, Theresa Hart and Loretta Hastings.

An anonymous donor sent $50, writing “Thank you for providing such quality toys!” Amy Bilyeu, of Mead, contributed $50. “Blessings to all!” she wrote. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $50, writing “Hope this helps make someone’s Christmas a happy one!” An anonymous Spokane donor sent $50. John Siok sent $50 via PayPal. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $40. Gail Kiser, of Spokane, sent $35.