Struggling families finding help with gifts at the Christmas Bureau

<p><p>The lines at the Christmas Bureau at the Spokane County Fair &amp; Expo Center were short Friday, but a steady flow of people visited during the day to pick up a grocery store voucher and a toy and book for each child.</p></p><p><p>The Bureau assists those who need a little help to provide a Christmas celebration for their children. Some are single parents, others might be out of work or working reduced hours. Grandparents who are raising their grandchildren come for help, as do couples who both work but still need a little help with the extras.</p></p><p><p>The Bureau also offers grocery store vouchers to adults without children in the home, as well as a hand-made hat or scarf. The voucher provides a little boost to those who might be living on a fixed income.</p></p><p><p>Alexis Davison stood in the toy room Friday as she debated the toys she wanted for her three children, ages 4, 5, and 7.</p></p><p><p>“The selection this year is incredible,” she said. “It’s so hard to pick.”</p></p><p><p>Davison said she comes to the Bureau every year to get some help providing gifts for her children. This year has been particularly tough, as nearly everyone in her family has dealt with medical issues.</p></p><p><p>“We struggle,” she said. “My husband isn’t working right now and I just got a metal plate put in my arm.”</p></p><p><p>She marveled at the wide array of toys available, everything from art kits to sports equipment. She had a steam breathing dragon in her cart that she was considering.</p></p><p><p>“I’m totally thinking about it for my 5-year-old,” she said.</p></p><p><p>Like Santa, Davison was making her list and checking it twice.</p></p><p><p>“I’m doing a second glance to make sure I’m happy with what I got,” she said.</p></p><p><p>Anita Williams came to the Bureau to pick up gifts for five of her 37 grandchildren. The mother of the five boys is not vaccinated against COVID-19, which is a requirement at the Bureau due to the governor’s mandate, so Williams volunteered to come to the Bureau in her place.</p></p><p><p>“She told me to get specific things and then I know what my grandsons like,” she said.</p></p><p><p>Though her daughter and her husband both work, Williams said they’re struggling to make ends meet, especially since the rental home they live in is being sold and they have to find a new place to live.</p></p><p><p>Thanks to the Bureau, Williams’ grandchildren and Davison’s children will wake up on Christmas morning to find a little something to make their holiday brighter.</p></p><p><p><strong>Donations</strong>New donations of $12,528 have brought the year-to-date total to $235,400.10, creeping slowly toward this year’s goal of raising $535,000 to fund the Christmas Bureau.</p></p><p><p>Carmela Conroy donated $2,100 via PayPal “in loving memory of Bob and Judi Conroy, long-time volunteers with the Christmas Bureau.” Christopher Goddard gave $1050 via PayPal.</p></p><p><p>Michael and Carol Wilson, of Spokane, donated $1,000. “With hopes to bring Christmas joy to our community!” they wrote. “Thank you Spokesman, VOA and Catholic Charities!”</p></p><p><p>Joan Hong donated $500 via PayPal “in loving memory of mom, Eunhi Hong.” Also giving $500 via PayPal: Brett Hober, Jean Edwards, Warren Stout, Mike and Ione Howson, Patrick Cerutti, George Sullivan and Michael Wiser.</p></p><p><p>Kennith Hill sent $350 via PayPal. Robert Hill donated $300 via PayPal, as did Diane Veltri. Patricia Bruininks gave $250 via PayPal, as did Frank Neeri.</p></p><p><p>Sandra Fiksdal, of Spokane, sent $150. “I am blessed to be able to help bring joy to our precious children!” she wrote. Yvonne Trudeau donated $150 via PayPal.</p></p><p><p>Mary Kay Mace gave $105 via PayPal. “The total of my children’s ages have been responsible each year for my donation to the Christmas Bureau,” she wrote. “My pleasure.”</p></p><p><p>An anonymous donor sent $100. Joan Menzies, of Spokane, donated $100. Richard and Karen Steele, of Spokane, gave $100. James Walesby, of Spokane, contributed $100. Marilee Roloff, of Spokane, donated $100 via PayPal in memory of Donna Roloff. An anonymous donor sent $100 via PayPal. Howie and Jennifer Stalwick sent $100 via PayPal, writing “Thank you for all the great work you do every year. Our annual donation honors Jennifer’s parents, Lois and Vernon Thompson, who worked at the Christmas Bureau for many years.”</p></p><p><p>The following donors each sent $100 via PayPal: Gary Ficus, Veronique Alcaraz, Mary Chase, Deborah R. Davis, David Leach, Kristi Sciuchetti, Cindy McMahon, Patricia Busch Stewart, Cindy Nelson, Linda Hempel, Ron and Peggy Fritz, David Hall and Gregory Perkins.</p></p><p><p>Cindy Johnson sent $75 via PayPal, as did Sandra Hanson.</p></p><p><p>Bill and Diane Codd, of Spokane, gave $50, writing “Have a car-filled joyous holiday season!” Cheri Foss donated $50 via PayPal “in memory of my dad, George Poston Jr. August 2021 would have been your 100th birthday. We miss you so much.”</p></p><p><p>Sue Hagner contributed $50 via PayPal, as did Joy Wagner and Gary Van Assen.</p></p><p><p>William Barkley contributed $28 via PayPal. Deborah Carpenter sent $25 via PayPal. Sharon Zaranski donated $20 via PayPal, as did Gary Miller and Denise Kagle. Marianne Nemeth sent $10 via PayPal.</p></p>