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

From hungry to helper: Rogers H.S. student volunteers to help at Christmas Bureau

Christmas Bureau volunteer Sam Radford smiles as he helps ferry toys with Elean Lewis and her daughter, Maeliana, on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022, at the Christmas Bureau at the Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds in Spokane, Wash.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

Rogers High School senior Sam Radford took some time out of his schedule last week to help out at the Christmas Bureau, ferrying toys and books to recipients’ cars.

It was Radford’s second year as a volunteer because he said he knows what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet, especially around Christmas.

“I know what it’s like to be in the position where you can’t afford a bowl of cereal,” he said. “I know what it’s like not to have a washing machine. I know what it’s like not to have a refrigerator.”

Radford is the youngest of six siblings. One is away at college and the others still live at home, along with three nephews. His mother works two jobs to pay the bills and also sells plasma for extra cash, Radford said.

“It’s what Hillyard is, though,” he said. “I’m not trying to complain.”

He said his older siblings were abused by his father for years, but he escaped the abuse because his father left when he was a year old. “It was all bad,” he said of what his siblings went through.

It was someone at school who told him about the Christmas Bureau last year and Radford said he immediately wanted to help.

“When I was younger, my mom would always go to these types of events,” he said. “Money was always tight. I want to give back to those that helped my family.”

He hopes to attend either Stanford University or the University of Washington next year, but if his schedule permits, he plans to be back at the Christmas Bureau to help out where he can.

“I see it as a great opportunity to give back and I’m very grateful,” he said.

DonationsChristmas is getting nearer and time is beginning to run out to raise the $600,000 needed to fund the grocery vouchers, toys and books handed out during the Christmas Bureau. New donations of $7,865 have brought the year-to-date total to $363,321.08.

Amy and Joel Galloway, of Spokane, gave $2,000. Kelly and Connie Mickelson, of Spokane, sent $1,000 via the Innovia Foundation.

William Harsell, of Spokane, donated $500, as did Rodney and Kim Strom of Hayden. Jeremy Heimbigner contributed $500 via PayPal, as did Dennis Kelly.

William and Sharon Beck, of Otis Orchards, gave $300. The Nye family sent $250. Glenn Kellogg sent $250 via PayPal, as did an anonymous donor.

The Vinje sisters donated $210. Prasti Vinje Purdum, Astrid Vinje (Bush) and Michelle Vinje (Petty) donated “to help the less fortunate children in Spokane enjoy a happy Christmas.” The Vinje sisters, who now reside in the Seattle area, spent most of their childhood years in Spokane.

Mary Winona Lively donated $200 via PayPal, writing, “To make your Christmas a little merrier. God bless you in the new year.”

Joe and Carolyn Schauble, of Spokane, gave $200 “in memory of their parents, Robert and Mary Schauble and Carl and Edna Magee. Thank you for all that you do.” Paul and Mary Steenblik, of Spokane, sent $200.

Jim Kershner gave $150 via PayPal. Ann Shaw donated $125 via PayPal.

Barbara Van Leuven, of Spokane, donated $100 “in memory of my beloved husband Jerry.” Tom and Mitch Solberg, of Spokane, gave $100 “in honor of our parents, Bill and Kate Solberg and George and Norma McNally.”

John and Connie Overdorff, of Otis Orchards, contributed $100. Larry and Diana Helmer, of Colbert, sent $100, writing “Thank you for all the wonderful work you do!” Christine Hinnen gave $100 via PayPal, as did Don Roise.

Melodie Little donated $100 via PayPal “in memory of Adrian (Papa) and Wanda (Wanny) Nichols and the joy they brought to Christmas.”

Morgot Wilson, of Spokane Valley, donated $30. “This is given in memory of my sister Jean, who passed away from COVID,” she wrote.