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

New volunteers jumped right in to help at the Christmas Bureau

Kevin and Cheryl Hutton are Christmas Bureau volunteers who found meaning in their efforts this year. They plan to return again next year.  (Nina Culver/S-R)
By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

Many new volunteers at the Christmas Bureau take a shift or two as a way of getting their feet wet, but Kevin and Cheryl Hutton went all in. They each took four shifts helping recipients at the Bureau while it was open in addition to several extra days spent setting up and tearing down the Bureau.

The Christmas Bureau provides a grocery store voucher for each family and a toy and a book for each child at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. It’s jointly run by Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America and The Spokesman-Review.

Both recently retired, Kevin from 42 years at Kimmel Athletics and Cheryl from 45 years at Northwest Orthopedic Specialists, and have been longtime volunteers with Catholic Charities. They were looking for something they could do together.

“I did intake and I really, really loved it,” Cheryl Hutton said. “I just got to talk to the people. They were so grateful and so thankful.”

She was surprised that some people came with handwritten thank-you notes, which touched her. “I got a couple of those,” she said.

Kevin Hutton spent two days stationed by Penelope, the elephant that used to sit outside the Spokane Valley White Elephant store for decades and was recently donated to the Christmas Bureau. Then he shifted to the toy room.

Both were impressed by their fellow volunteers, some of whom have been helping run the Christmas Bureau for decades.

“The energy that these people have,” Kevin Hutton said.

“I thought the people who worked there were just fabulous,” Cheryl Hutton said. “It was really well-run. I was impressed. I really, thoroughly enjoyed every day I was there.”

Both anticipate signing up to work at the Christmas Bureau again next year. “That’s a safe bet,” Kevin Hutton said.

“We’ll be back next year,” Cheryl Hutton promised. “I’m looking forward to it.”

She said she would like to work intake again and her husband, who describes himself as not very handy, said he’ll do whatever is needed. “I’ll do anything, with the exception of assembling little bikes,” he said.


New donations of $27,174 have brought the year-to-date total to $405,395.18, which means there’s still a way to go to reach the goal of $600,000.

Challenger Pipe & Steel, of Spokane Valley, donated $5,000. “As we close out 2022, Challenger Pipe & Steel would like to thank our customers and community partners for a successful year by donating to the Spokesman-Review Christmas Bureau Fund,” wrote president and CEO Randy Hurst. “Our team at Challenger Pipe & Steel would like to thank all the volunteers of the Bureau, and we hope this donation might allow some of the less fortunate members of our community to have a brighter holiday season. We hope everyone stays healthy and safe for the new year.”

Mike and Sue Altringer, of Spokane, gave $3,000 via the Innovia Foundation.

An anonymous Spokane Valley donor gave $2,000 “from two sisters in memory of mom, dad, Peggy, Rick and Craig. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your wonderful work!” BMT Metal Fabrication donated $2,000.

The Hendershot Family Charitable Fund donated $1,000.

Two anonymous Spokane donors each sent $500. Sharon and Frederick Clark, of Chattaroy, gave $500. The Michael L. Pearson Revocable Trust donated $500. Gary Matthews and Nancy Mahoney, of Spokane Valley, contributed $500 via the Innovia Foundation. James and Sarah Sledge, of Spokane, sent $500.

Lowell Severud, of Spokane, gave $500. Butch and Barbara Slaughter, of Spokane, donated $500, writing, “It is so heartwarming and fun to work at and donate to the Christmas Bureau. Great people! Great cause!” William and Merilee Dinneen, of Spokane, sent $500.

John Lyons donated $500 via PayPal “with gratitude for Spokane’s continual support of our fallen heroes, military service members, veterans and their families. We are thankful to be able to donate once again to help our adopted hometown and make Christmas a little brighter for folks!”

The Centurions Auto Club gave $300 “in memory of Craig Jolly who was our brother and Sergeant at Arms of the Club. We miss him and hope this donation will bring some joy to those in need.” Karen and Steve Heaps, of Spokane Valley, donated $300.

Bob and Judy Lee, of Sun City West, Arizona, sent $300 “in memory of our parents, Hugh and Catherine Lee and Ken and Alice Smith, and our grandson, Austin McKenzie.” An anonymous donor sent $300 via PayPal, writing, “We are so grateful for your wonderful work in providing Christmas joy to so many families. This anonymous donation is in honor of our family and friends. God bless you all.”

A “lifetime Spokane resident” donated $302, writing “The economy is why my wife and I are contributing less to the 2022 Christmas Fund. If we focused just on us, we could justify a minimal amount or no contribution at all. But reading the smaller donations reminds us that any form of giving – especially to make it a better Christmas for others – is what God has taught us. It’s what the world needs more of. And giving is more meaningful when it’s not so easy to do. Thank you for showing us the spirit of Christmas each year!”

Jack Snead, of Spokane, donated $250. Burt and Shirley Pendleton, of Spokane, sent $250. Kristine and Michael Anderson, of Nine Mile Falls, gave $250. Roger Wright contributed $250 via PayPal, as did Charles Horgan.

Tony and Mary Madunich, of Spokane, donated $200. Vivian Burrell and family gave $200, writing, “Our mom passed away 10/30/22. She always supported yours and many other charities. God bless.” Payline Bresnahan, of Spokane, sent $200.

Carol Lawton, of Spokane, sent $200, writing, “The Christmas Bureau provides the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in our community. Thank you.” Donald and Diana Storey, of Spokane, gave $200. Sandra Czernik, of Airway Heights, donated $200, writing, “Thank you for bringing joy and happiness to so many families in our community.”

An anonymous donor sent $200 via PayPal, as did Cherylann Taam, Rick Reimer and Richard Reimer. Kelly Kelly sent $200 via PayPal, writing “Years ago, as a low income single mother, the only present I had under the tree for my daughter was one from the Christmas Bureau.” Ronald Reimer sent $200 via PayPal “on behalf of Betty McConnell.”

Russell Cornell gave $200 via PayPal “for Duke and Sue Cornell and Ardith Divine. Merry Christmas!”

Tom and Bette Brattebo, of Liberty Lake, sent $150. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $150 in honor of the LeRoy Byrd family. Gary Kelly donated $150 via PayPal “from King Kaizer.” David Hall sent $150 via PayPal, as did Kathy McCarthy.

Joe and Becky Kramarz, of Spokane, donated $100. Joe and Charri Doeleman, of Spokane, gave $100. “(We) are pleased to be able to send this gift to hopefully make somebody’s holidays a little happier!” they wrote. “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all – thank you for all you do!” Shirley Dicus, of Spokane, contributed $100.

Annalie M. Evans sent $100 via PayPal, writing, “We want to do our small part as the need continues to grow. Merry Christmas!” Kassi Kain gave $100 via PayPal, writing, “This donation is in honor of Brigid Krause and Heidi Meany for all their hard work in coordinating the bureau this year. And a special thanks to Bonnie, Christy and Paul for being amazing co-chairs once again.”

Jeff and Brenda Danner, of Spokane Valley, sent $100 “in honor of our parents, who were longtime supporters of the Christmas Bureau.” Bonnie Avery, of Spokane, donated $100. Patrick and Laurie Thiel, of Spokane Valley, gave $100. Alexis Nelson contributed $100. Don Harding sent $100 via PayPal “in honor of a good man, Leonard (Bud) Barton.”

Stewart and Laurel Randall, of Spokane, gave $100. “Thank you for all you do at this special time of year!” they wrote. An anonymous Spokane donor sent $100. Janet “Pinki” Culbertson, of Spokane, donated $100 “in loving memory of my father, Don Culbertson, who encouraged me to volunteer at the Christmas Bureau all those years ago. And thank you to my fabulous wood truck/toy craftsmen who helped make children’s holidays so much brighter. Please make some more sawdust for next year. Everyone, please help us make our goal by donating. Every dollar counts. Thank you!”

Kay Misterek, of Spokane Valley, sent $100 in memory of Vera Actor. Mark and Linda McFall, of Colbert, donated $100, as did Thomas and Teresa McCabe of Spokane. Colleen Striegel, of Spokane, contributed $100. “Delighted to contribute to the wonderful Christmas Fund!” she wrote. “Thank you all for making this happen.”

D. Gerald Searfoss gave $100 via PayPal, as did David McCabe, Donald Barden and Diane Langill.

Carol Phelps, of Spokane, donated $75. Michael Hughes, of Spokane Valley, gave $52.

Phyllis and Kurt Steinheiser, of Liberty Lake, sent $50. Michele Attwood and Sami, of Spokane, gave $50, writing, “Merry Christmas to you all and thank you for making Spokane a great place to live!” Glen and Kim Taylor, of Spokane Valley, contributed $50, writing, “May this help make someone’s Christmas a bit better!”

Jill and Richard Ripley, of Spokane, donated $50. Two anonymous Spokane donors each sent $50. Mike Prager, of Spokane, gave $50. Monica and Eddy Nagashima, of Spokane, contributed $50. Sheri Barnard, of Spokane, donated $50. “This gift is dedicated in memory of my mother, Mary Stovin, who loved Spokane. Thank you and God bless all our citizens!”

Emily Gordon, of Spokane, gave $50 “to honor Becky Nappi and Tony Wadden.” Thomas Armitage, of Spokane, sent $50. Susan Borg gave $50 via PayPal “with love and thanks to my mom and dad, Pete and Ruth Clarke, for so many beautiful holidays!” Michael Husted donated $50 via PayPal.

Jay and Debbie Humphrey, of Spokane, sent $45 in memory of Frank and Vera Romero and Denny Humphrey.

Nancy Hood, of Spokane Valley, gave $30. “Thank you for again making it so easy to join Spokane in making Christmas better for some of my neighbors.”

Jeannette Gildehaus, of Spokane Valley, sent $25. Greg and Illa Jean Swanson, of Spokane Valley, gave $25. Joanne Tebow contributed $25 via PayPal, as did Theresa White.

An anonymous Liberty Lake donor sent $10, writing “Thank you for all you do to help the community!” Stephen Arvin gave $10 via PayPal.