New Christmas Bureau volunteers keep the staff fed and ready to help

<p><p>JoNell and Tom Edlin have a long history of volunteer work, so it was only a matter of time until they found their way to the Christmas Bureau.</p></p><p><p>The couple met while volunteering at Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Both recently retired and were looking for a way to give back when they saw a Spokesman-Review story about the need for extra Christmas Bureau help and quickly volunteered.</p></p><p><p>“Both my husband and I grew up in the Spokane area and we knew about the Christmas Bureau,” JoNell Edlin said.</p></p><p><p>They learned that volunteers were needed to run the volunteer lunchroom. Tom Edlin had owned a food truck, called Toby’s BBQ, for eight years, so it seemed like a natural fit.</p></p><p><p>The Christmas Bureau opens to recipients at 10 a.m., but the couple arrive at 8 to make big urns of coffee and heat up water for those who might want hot tea or cocoa instead. They set up ice chests with ice and water and soda.</p></p><p><p>“Then we put out the snacks for the day,” she said. “We put out apples and oranges and packaged things because of COVID.”</p></p><p><p>They also prepare a cart that has coffee, cups, water and snacks to put in the back area so volunteers don’t have to walk all the way to the lunch area if they get thirsty. Then they help set up lunch when it arrives and disinfect the tables in between groups. The lunch is donated by Arby’s every day.</p></p><p><p>At the end of the day, the couple takes stock of the supplies and makes a run to URM if necessary. “It’s new to us,” she said. “We’re learning how much water we’re going to go through, how much other stuff.”</p></p><p><p>JoNell Edlin is also signed up to work several shifts in the toy room helping people pick out toys for their children. “It’s actually been very invigorating to see the parents and the parents who bring their children in,” she said. “They’re so excited and wide-eyed.”</p></p><p><p>The days are long, but worth it, Edlin said. “You come home tired, but it’s fun.”</p></p><p><p>Edlin said she and her husband plan to make volunteering at the Christmas Bureau an annual event. “I love it and so does Tom,” she said. “It’s been a good choice. We’re excited to come back as long as they need us.”</p></p><p><p>Edlin said she’s grateful that the Christmas Bureau exists. “We’re so fortunate that we have a community that supports people,” she said. “We’ve had a rough couple of years. It just reminds you of how good people truly are.”</p></p><p><!–[photoset id=11623]–></p><p><p><strong>Donations</strong>New donations of $4,775 have brought the year-to-date total to $135,217.10.</p></p><p><p>David and Shirley Clover, of Valleyford, donated $1,000. “This gift is in honor of our father, Ray Clover, who always found a way to make Christmas special for his children,” they wrote. “1958 was a particularly bleak year financially for our family. Raising five kids on a laborer’s wages didn’t allow for extras like toys. But dad just couldn’t bear the thought of his kids waking up on Christmas morning without something special to unwrap. So, starting a month before Christmas, after us kids were tucked into bed, dad slipped into the garage where he transformed scraps of lumber into a hand-crafted set of building blocks and logs.</p></p><p><p>“There was only one gift to open in our house that Christmas morning – a gift that was shared by all five of us kids. But I remember the awe and excitement we experienced as the finely finished and stained pieces tumbled onto the table. Boy, the hours we spent with those blocks! And the fact that our own dad had made these for us made them all the more special. That gift was treasured for years.</p></p><p><p>“In memory of dad – and so that his gift-giving may continue to bless others – we happily support the Christmas Bureau and your mission of making sure that every child receives the gift of joy at Christmas.”</p></p><p><p>Angela and Richard Young, of Spokane, donated $500 in memory of Ken Trent. “No child should wake up Christmas morning without food and a toy,” they wrote. “If everyone did their share, none would have to.”</p></p><p><p>An anonymous Spokane donor gave $300, writing “Thank you for doing this community service.” John and Barbara Obde, of Spokane, sent $300. Steve and Beth Kenney, of Spokane Valley, contributed $300.</p></p><p><p>Neil and Brigid Krause, of Spokane, donated $250. Linda Swartley, of Spokane, gave $250.</p></p><p><p>An anonymous Spokane donor sent $200, writing “This donation is made in loving memory of Daphne Adams, for whom the Christmas season was her favorite time of year. She donated to the Christmas Fund for many years, and it is an honor for me to continue the tradition.”</p></p><p><p>Barbara and Andrew Clark, of Spokane Valley, sent $200. An anonymous Spokane donor gave $200, writing “We are grateful to once again be able to donate to the Spokesman-Review Christmas Fund. Every year we budget so that we can do so. Prayers and blessings for all who need help and for all those who provide it. Thank you to all the volunteers.” Linda Cannon, of Spokane, gave $200. “Wishing all the best possible Christmas,” she wrote.</p></p><p><p>Ellen Krehbiel and Jeff Wasson, of Colbert, donated $150 on behalf of the Wasson and Krehbiel families. Gail and Dave DeRoshia, of Spokane, gave $150, writing “We are so glad that, once gain, we are able to help this worthy cause. Merry Christmas to all the wonderful volunteers.” An anonymous Spokane Valley donor gave $150, writing “Thank you for this chance to give to others.”</p></p><p><p>Meredith Hilby, of Liberty Lake, donated $150. “As we go into the Christmas season, it is nice to know that those among us who may be struggling can look forward to a merrier season,” she wrote. “Thank you for all that you and your wonderful volunteers do to make Christmas bright.”</p></p><p><p>An anonymous Spokane donor gave $100. Luella Jobin, of Spokane, sent $100. Randy and Victoria Bunke, of Deer Park, contributed $100. Jean Rose, of Spokane, donated $100.</p></p><p><p>Peggy and Stephen Colvin, of Spokane, gave $50.</p></p><p><p>Joanne Hart, of Spokane, donated $25.</p></p>