That's a wrap: Christmas Bureau ends 2021 on a high note and a near-record

<p><p>The year 2021 just proves that when the chips are down, Spokane comes through, though we hardly needed additional proof. </p></p><p><p>In 2020, when COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the economy, the community rallied to raise a record-shattering $734.383.40 for the Christmas Bureau. In 2021, with the effects of COVID ongoing, the community responded by donating an astonishing $623,745.22 for the Bureau, an amount second only to that raised in 2020.</p></p><p><p>The Christmas Bureau is a collaboration between Catholic Charities, Volunteers of America and The Spokesman-Review. The Bureau is open for two weeks in December for those who need a little help with Christmas, offering a grocery store voucher to each family, as well as a toy and a book for each child. Each year that effort is funded entirely by the donations.</p></p><p><p>The Christmas Bureau is in its 76th year. Early years focused more on collecting donations of food, clothes and shoes, and less on raising cash. That changed in the early 1980s, and the Bureau has raised and spent $19 million since it began in 1945. Now, buyers spend the year scouring sales for toys and books that can be given away each December, confident that local citizens will donate the money needed to pay the bills.</p></p><p><p>This year, 6,836 households that included 25,488 people – including 13,800 children – received assistance from the Christmas Bureau. Grocery store vouchers totaling $173,055 were given out to help families have a little something extra on their Christmas table.</p></p><p><p>There were changes in the Bureau this year that helped families move through the lines faster. It was located in a different, larger building at the Spokane County Fair &amp; Expo Center, which allowed a bigger toy room and a bigger restock area for volunteers. The number of days the Bureau was open was also extended, giving people more of a chance to pick up gifts.</p></p><p><p>Despite the numerous changes, Christmas Bureau Coordinator Sierra Heinen said everything went smoothly.</p></p><p><p>“There was the new space, more days, COVID,” she said. “We expected more hiccups than we had. It makes us excited for next year.”</p></p><p><h3>Donations</h3></p><p><p>New donations of $53,436 have been received since Christmas, bringing this year’s total raised to $623,745.22. Any contributions that arrived after the donation cut off will be set aside for the 2022 Christmas Bureau.</p></p><p><p>Challenger Pipe &amp; Steel, of Spokane Valley, donated $5,000. “As we close out 2021, Challenger Pipe &amp; Steel would like to thank our customers and community partners for a successful year by donating to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Bureau Fund,” company president Randy Hurst wrote. “Our team at Challenger Pipe &amp; Steel would like to thank all the volunteers of the Bureau and 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.”</p></p><p><p>ACME Concrete Paving Inc., of Spokane, donated $5,000. Three of its employees also donated: Skip and Michele White, of Spokane Valley ($200); Roberto and Lauri Seghetti, of Spokane ($250); and David Kappers, of Spokane ($175).</p></p><p><p>Avista Corporation donated $3,000. Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists gave $2,400.</p></p><p><p>The Few Charitable Fund gave $2,000 via Schwab Charitable. An anonymous Spokane donor sent $2,000. Kasson Thomas, of Spokane, donated $2,000. Max J. Kuney Company gave $2,000. Wandermere Community Services, of Spokane, donated $2,000. “We appreciate all the work that you do for the Spokane community,” treasurer Mark Hund wrote.</p></p><p><p>Stacy Brunke donated $2,000 via PayPal “in memory of my amazing parents, Susan and Ted Olson, who were devoted donors to the Christmas Bureau each year. Missing them and honoring them as they spend their first year in heaven together.” Jean Moore gave $2,000 via PayPal.</p></p><p><p>Jody Grollmus donated $1,600. Walker Construction, of Spokane, gave $1,000.</p></p><p><p>An anonymous donor gave $750 via PayPal “in memory of our parents and grandparents. Thanks for all you do for our community.” Larry and Mary Soehren donated $750 via PayPal. “Thank you to all of the organizations and people involved in this wonderful and important work,” they wrote. “Merry Christmas!”</p></p><p><p>The Brooke Family sent $700 via PayPal “in honor of Jeannette and Phil Brooke.”</p></p><p><p>An anonymous Spokane donor gave $555, writing, “Each year, I follow the daily Christmas Fund donations report. It’s pleasing to read the messages and range of giving from a remarkable city committed to helping others have a better Christmas. Our continued choice to contribute is due to the efforts of your newspaper and Christmas Fund volunteers. Thank you for showing us the spirit of Christmas!”</p></p><p><p>Robert McNeese, of Spokane, donated $500. Mark Wagner, of Spokane, contributed $500. John and Keirsten Lyons, of Spokane, sent $500. “Thanks to all The S-R efforts and Christmas Bureau volunteers who make the season brighter for so many – we’ve been pleased to support their effort in our adopted hometown for 14 years now!” Gordon MacKenzie donated $500. Harry Fuhs, of Spokane, gave $500.</p></p><p><p>Mark and Valerie Sonderen, of Spokane, contributed $500. “Thank you for the opportunity to share Christmas blessings with others,” they wrote. “And another big thank you to the Christmas Bureau for your hard work and dedication to help our neighbors in Spokane.” An anonymous Spokane donor gave $500, “with the hope that it will help brighten the holiday season and provide some joy in the lives of those in need during this special time of year. We thank The Spokesman-Review for providing this fine service to our community.”</p></p><p><p>David Forest, of Deer Meadows, Washington, sent $500. The following donors each gave $500 via PayPal: Ryan Baddeley, Gary Marks, Northwest CFO, Paul Jalufka and Brett Hagen.</p></p><p><p>An anonymous Spokane donor sent $400, writing, “Happy holidays to all who make this possible – staff, worker bees and, most importantly, the precious people in our community who come to find some needed happiness. Love to all.”</p></p><p><p>Char Thomas, of Spokane, gave $300. “Thank you all who help with this beautiful Christmas event,” she wrote. “Consider volunteering; the best people there become your good friends.” Linda Dunn, of Spokane, sent $300. Janice Patterson contributed $300 via PayPal, writing, “Thank you for all the wonderful work you do. In appreciation from the Patterson, McLeod and Steinbauer families.”</p></p><p><p>Russell Cornell donated $300 via PayPal “on behalf of Duke and Sue Cornell and Ardith Divine. Merry Christmas!” Robert Lemoine sent $300 via PayPal, as did Patricia Morales.</p></p><p><p>Shelly Kuney, of Spokane, gave $250. Dena Kaplan sent $250. Barbara Spencer donated $250 via PayPal, as did Charles Horgan. Robert Dziekan sent $250 via PayPal, as did Christopher Sherfey.</p></p><p><p>Mark Switzer, of Spokane, donated $200 “in fond memory of Robert ‘El Biggo’ Switzer.” Christine Tangvald donated $200 “in loving memory of Roald Tangvald, Thor Tangvald, Harry and Frankie Harder. God bless your whole crew! Jesus is the reason for the season.”</p></p><p><p>Ben and Julie Webinger donated $200 in memory of Craig Thomas. Lynelle Kirk-Spence, of Spokane, donated $200 “in memory of Gregory, Bob and Florence Kirk.” The Inland Empire Chapter of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses gave $200 via PayPal. An anonymous donor sent $200 via PayPal.</p></p><p><p>The following people each donated $200 via PayPal: Dale Soden, Donald Barden, Virginia Pounds, Allison Sherwood, Louis Haymond, Joanne Turner and Sonia Petty.</p></p><p><p>Ruth Sullivan donated $150 via PayPal, as did Patti Wachter.</p></p><p><p>Barbara Hinzman, of Spokane, gave $100. Thomas and Elaine Pitzer, of Spokane, sent $100. Jeff and Brenda Danner, of Spokane Valley, donated $100, writing, “Please accept our donation in honor of family no longer here to celebrate Christmas with us, especially our parents, Karl and Clara Danner and Bob and Bea Wilson. Merry Christmas!”</p></p><p><p>The family of Don Vandervert donated $100 for “his favorite charity.” Jay and Arlene Leipham, of Spokane, gave $100. Bob, of Spokane, donated $100. Richard Schroeder, of Spokane, contributed $100. David Hamer, of Spokane, gave $100, as did John and Sandy Nolting, of Spokane. Colleen Mahoney, of Spokane, sent $100, as did Beth Krause, of Spokane. Stephen Cromwell gave $100 via PayPal “from Sharon Carson, who could not volunteer this year.”</p></p><p><p>The following people each donated $100 via PayPal: Matthew Andersen, Joe Jovanovich, Allen Olp, Dean Nagel, Adrienne Rowe, Rick Fredericksen, Jean Green, Eik O, Cathy Dixon, Gary Kelly, James Braukmann, Vincent Monaco, Kelly Steinbauer, Kathleen Walter, Jeff Ellingson and Robert Miller.</p></p><p><p>An anonymous Spokane donor gave $100. Konnie Dietz, of Spokane, donated $100 “in memory of my grandmother, Margaret Van. She was a big influence on my life. Merry Christmas to all.” Janet “Pinki” Culbertson, of Spokane, donated $100 “in honor of my father, Don Culbertson, and fellow volunteer Cande Webb-Krall. To Brigid Krause for her many years of herding all of us volunteers. And to my awesome truck/car makers; you have no idea how much your works of art mean to the children. Thank you!”</p></p><p><p>The Womens Investment Network donated $100. Teresa and Ryan Landa sent $100 via PayPal, writing, “We were inspired to donate after reading the Dec. 20 write up in the SR. Thank you Jay and Kay Walter and all volunteers.” Charles Slater and Mary Douthitt gave $100 via PayPal.</p></p><p><p>Dave McGovern gave $100 via PayPal “in memory of our son, Christopher McGovern.” Lee Kershner sent $100 via PayPal “in memory of Lee R. Kershner, who always supported this wonderful fund.”</p></p><p><p>Robert and Erik Ozolins-House donated $100 via PayPal, writing, “Thank you to The Spokesman-Review, Catholic Charities, the volunteers, and everyone who makes the Christmas Bureau happen every year. Merry Christmas!”</p></p><p><p>Kim and William McGarry, of Liberty Lake, donated $75. Maddie, Lisa and Scott Ray gave $75 via PayPal, writing, “Merry Christmas!”</p></p><p><p>An anonymous Spokane Valley donor gave $50. Tara Hamm, of Spokane, sent $50. An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $50, writing, “We love the Christmas Bureau.” Gratia and Robert Baugh, of Chattaroy, donated $50, writing, “This donation is to honor our daughter and son-in-law, Terry and Paul G., who are so generous in giving to people and animals.” An anonymous donor gave $50.</p></p><p><p>Martha Breneman, of Spokane, sent $50. “We appreciate the opportunity to donate through you and the help you give to so many families!” she wrote. “We are happy to help in a small way.” Two anonymous Spokane donors each gave $50.</p></p><p><p>An anonymous Spokane donor contributed $50 in memory of Zachary Camarda. Ralph Walter donated $50 via PayPal in memory of Carol Walter. The following people each gave $50 via PayPal: Daniel McFarland, Sara Clausen, Brenda Clark, Katherine Wooley, Dale Avery, Magdalena Phillips, Antonia Manus, Kathleen Scarpelli, Michael Husted and Susan Matthews.</p></p><p><p>Damon Toam, of Spokane, gave $40. Judith Schoepflin donated $35 via PayPal.</p></p><p><p>Barbara Pryde, of Spokane, contributed $30. Rosemarie Rader, of Spokane Valley, donated $30.</p></p><p><p>Shirley Huguenin, of Spokane, sent $25. “Thank you for all you are doing to help the Christmas Bureau help the less fortunate in our community,” she wrote. “Thank you and Merry Christmas.” JoAnne Nelson, of Cheney, donated $25.</p></p><p><p>Amanda Nelson contributed $20 via PayPal. Charles Acheson donated $1 via PayPal.</p></p>