Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Volunteers help Christmas Bureau meet community needs

by Jami LeBrun, Inland Register staff

(From the Dec. 2, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)

Hal EllisHal Ellis (left) was just one of the volunteers who helped make last year’s Christmas Bureau a success. Coordinating the effort once again is Karen Orlando of Catholic Charities. (IR photos from Catholic Charities)

The Spokesman-Review Christmas Bureau has been part of the Spokane community’s Christmas tradition since 1946. For years, members of the Spokane community have reached out to assist the needy during the Christmas season, making some of their holiday wishes come true.

This year, the Spokesman-Review and their partners, Catholic Charities of Spokane and Volunteers of America, plan to raise $500,000 to help needy individuals and families purchase food for their Christmas dinners and gifts for their children.

Coordinating the bureau once again is Karen Orlando, head of Special Events and Volunteers for Catholic Charities in Spokane.

From Dec. 6–10, and again from Dec. 13–17, individuals and families who find themselves in need of some Christmas help can come to the Christmas Bureau, located at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center at 401 N. Havana.

Once there, each recipient receives a food voucher, the amount of which is determined by the number of people at their address. In addition they are able to pick out one age-appropriate new toy and new book for each child that lives at their address. The family is also given a bag of candy. Proof of residence, such as current medical coupons or a current utility bill, is required to insure non-duplication. Photo identification for every adult living at the address is required, as well as proof of children living at the address, such as medical coupons or a letter from an agency or school. Last year, the Christmas Bureau received $498,879 in donations and served 15,966 children and 16,081 adults. Organizers expect similar numbers this year.

Volunteers from Lewis and Clark High School, Rodgers High School and St. Mary Parish’s Youth Group are providing babysitting for parents while they shop. Children at St. Charles School are volunteering their time to assemble wooden toys to give each child who spends time in the child care area.

As it has from the beginning, The Spokesman-Review Christmas Bureau operates on generous donations from the businesses and individuals in the Spokane community. Each year, the day after Thanksgiving through Dec. 31, the Spokesman-Review solicits for the Christmas Fund. Catholic Charities and Volunteers of America manage and operate the Christmas Bureau for two weeks in December. With the exception of a part-time coordinator, the Bureau is staffed entirely by about 250 volunteers from the greater Spokane community. To get on the volunteer mailing list for the 2005 Christmas Bureau, call Karen Orlando, the Christmas Bureau coordinator at 358-4254.

To make a donation, mail a check to The Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund, P.O. Box 516, Spokane, WA 99210; or deliver it to the newsroom on the fourth floor or the security guard in the lobby of the Review Tower, 999 W. Riverside.

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