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christmas bureau shines through adversity

The Christmas Bureau officially wrapped up on December 23rd after 3 months of operation. In a normal year the program would run over an 11-day period including setup and service days. Over 3 months the Christmas Bureau received 8,386 applications servicing 30,866 individuals. All applicants received a grocery voucher for anywhere from $15-$30. Christmas Bureau gave out $213,495 in vouchers that could be used at most grocery store outlets throughout Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

Initially the plan was to offer a drive through program in which parents could pick up toys and books that were prepackaged based on the items they selected on their application. However, due to the governor's new order released on November 15th 2020, that portion of the operation was suspended. The Christmas Bureau was able to creatively pivot and find a way to get toy vouchers into the hands of nearly half of the applicants, which resulted in the distribution of e-gift cards for a major national retailer. The Christmas Bureau gave out over $124,000 in e-gift cards to help buy toys for 3,600 families, or 16,166 children.

The community came together in a way not seen before and raised nearly $200,000 more than the $535,000 goal. This ensures that Christmas Bureau will have the capacity to serve another year and can continue to have flexibility to aid those most in need during such unpredictable times.



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